What a Knockout! Disgruntled Fans Suit Down for the Count

The May 2, 2015 match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, promoted as the “Fight of the Century,” saw two of this generation’s most prominent figures in boxing go head-to-head for 12 rounds. However, many fans were less than pleased with the outcome of the fight after the Pacquiao camp’s post-fight revelation. At the conclusion of the match, a “three-judge panel [unanimously] declared Mayweather the overall winner of the match,” the Ninth Circuit said. That same panel declared Pacquiao the “winner of between two…
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TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Lightning Reaches Class Settlement

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which a fan claimed that the NHL team violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by flooding him with unwanted text messages. Plaintiff Brian Hanley claimed that the team violated the TCPA by using a bait-and-switch tactic. Hanley was under the impression that he had entered a ticket contest for a future Lightning game by texting a short code number. Instead, he had inadvertently signed up for an advertising…
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NFL Sued by Former Athletes over Pro Bowl Promotionals

World Sports Alumni Inc. (WSA), a sports marketing firm, is suing the NFL and a chapter of the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLAA) over the use of former athletes’ names and pictures in promotional advertisements without their permission. WSA alleges that the NFL and NFLAA depicted retired NBA player Nick Anderson, retired NFL player Brandon Meriweather, and retired heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe to promote the Pro Bowl events without the former athletes’ knowledge or consent. The complaint states that, in December 2017, NFLAA…
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Cubs Fan Files Copyright Suit against the Team over Souvenir Design

On Friday, August 17th, a retired Michigan advertiser filed suit against the Chicago Cubs, alleging that the Cubs stole his design for 1984 souvenirs and reused the design for 2017 souvenirs without his permission or compensation. Dan Fox was a Chicago advertising executive in 1984, when he contracted with the Cubs to create a souvenir for the team’s divisional championship: a clear acrylic block encasing an ivy leaf from Wrigley Field’s outfield wall. In the original license agreement, the Cubs’ acknowledged Fox as…
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University of Arkansas Files Suit Against Counterfeit Retailers

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees filed a suit seeking to stop a “massive network” of counterfeit websites selling fake or unregistered Razorback merchandise. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants are not named, but are described as retailers “residing in China” or “other foreign jurisdictions”, operating “without any authorizations or licenses”. These phony retailers are extremely successful, as the complaint alleges that they receive tens of millions of visits per…
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Judge Alludes to Dismissal of Caddy Ad Lawsuit

At a hearing on Thursday, December 3, 2015, U.S. District Judge Vince Chabbria indicated that he is likely to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by professional caddies against PGA Tour, Inc. In February 2015, professional caddie Mike Hicks and 81 others filed a class-action antitrust suit against the PGA Tour in a California federal court, alleging the Tour’s misappropriation of their “likeness and images in commercial activities.” The caddies seek for a share of revenue flowing in from caddies wearing bibs that display sponsors’ logos,…
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The Power of Endorsement Deals: Is Equity the New Compensation?

Professional athletes are becoming brands; walking, talking brands. Their success on the playing field adds value to their brand. Ultimately, companies want to use the athlete’s brand to sell their product; this gives birth to an endorsement contract. Companies pay huge sums of money for athletes to promote their products. The more powerful an athlete’s brand is, the more money a company is willing to pay to get their products in that athlete’s hands. Athletes earning potential in the endorsement arena is limitless; simply the…
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MJ and Chicago Grocer in Settlement Talks

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, an Illinois federal judge told Michael Jordan and Jewel Food Stores, Inc. that both sides will benefit from settling their right of publicity suit. The lawsuit arose out of an advertisement placed in Sports Illustrated. The advertisement featured text congratulating Jordan on his introduction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, a pair of basketball shoes portraying Jordan’s Number 23, and Jewel’s own logo. Jordan brought suit against Jewel alleging that Jewel used his likeness without permission in the…
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