Merriman Lawsuit May Be “Lights Out” for Nike
Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is suing apparel giant Nike. Merriman’s company, Lights Out Holdings LLC, filed suit in California claiming that Nike infringed his trademark in “Lights Out” after Nikeintroduced a “Lights Out” line of merchandise. Merriman earned the “Lights Out” nickname in high school when he knocked out four opposing players in one game. Merriam secured a federal trademark in “Lights Out.” It has been used in several off-field ventures and is largely associated with Merriman’s persona.
According to the suit, although Nike and Merriam unsuccessful negotiated to create a “Lights Out” apparel line in 2006, Nike used the name anyway. Merriman was endorsed by Nike during his playing career and appeared in numerous commercials for the brand, most notably Nike’s “Leave Nothing” campaign.
This isn’t the first time Merriman has sued over the “Lights Out” phrase. In 2008, Merriman sued Lights Out Sportswear for trademark infringement, claiming that he previously opened a clothing line with a similar name. As for the Nike lawsuit, Merriman is seeking an injunction to stop the trademark infringement and related unfair business practices. Merriam is also requesting damages to be determined at trial. According to Merriman, he is “suing Nike as a last resort, not only to protect [his] brand, but to protect other athletes who are trying to develop a brand.”