Major Sports Leagues Band Together Against Merchandise Counterfeiters

Three major sports leagues, among others, have recently banded together to put an end to a purportedly massive online circuit of sports merchandise counterfeiters using the leagues’ distinctive trademarks.  On July 2, 2018, NBA Properties, Inc., MLB Advanced Media, L.P., NHL Enterprises, L.P., IMG College Licensing, LLC, and the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (Plaintiffs) filed suit against an undisclosed list of foreign defendants for alleged trademark infringement. Plaintiffs contend that the online stores are selling their products by using their distinctive…
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Bucks Guard Sues Milwaukee Police Over Racial Profiling Incident

Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Sterling Brown filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, the chief of the Milwaukee Police Department (“MPD”) and eight other MPD officers and sergeants in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Brown claims the defendants violated his civil and constitutional rights and applied excessive and brutal force while unlawfully arresting him. The suit arises out of the highly publicized incident that took place on Friday, January 26 at 2 a.m. Brown was parked…
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BIG3 Suit Involves Allen Iverson and Steve Bannon

Another lawsuit involving Ice Cube’s start-up three-on-three basketball league the BIG3 is the latest issue for the league to try and overcome. What was supposed to be a fun, innovative league that would allow former players to keep their careers alive has turned into a series of lawsuits. Former Chief Creative Officer Kainoa Henry filed his complaint on Monday, June 12, in a California Superior Court. Henry alleges that he was forced to resign from his position at the BIG3 after co-founder Jeffrey Kwatinetz, who…
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Over/Under: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back for Legal Betting in New Jersey

On Tuesday, May, 25, 2018 the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider discussed the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down a federal statute controlling the states’ ability to regulate sports gambling. Shortly after, New Jersey became the first state to officially make wagering legal and gain access to the estimated $150 billion market by approving Assembly Bill A-411. However, America’s professional sports leagues did not respond positively to New Jerseys’ legislation. Specifically, the leagues are worried about the potential for corruption and athletes manipulating the…
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Kawhi Leonard’s Former Agent Sues Former Employer

Brian Elfus, a veteran sports agent, represented college basketball standout Kawhi Leonard as he transitioned from San Diego State to the NBA. Elfus is now suing his former boss Mitchell Frankel and his former employer Impact Sports Basketball, Impact, JS Sports Funding LLC, and J&J Sports Agency MM LLC (defendants), for wrongful deprivation of agent fees, which included the agent fees derived from Leonard as well as other professional basketball players and coaches. According to the complaint, “Elfus generated over [$5 million] in commissions…
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Litigation Between Charles Oakley, MSG, and James Dolan Begins

On January 12, 2018, at a pre-motion conference, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan told the attorney of former New York Knick, Charles Oakley, that his client’s defamation claim against the owner of the New York Knicks, James Dolan, and Madison Square Garden (MSG) would be an “uphill climb.” Oakley’s attorney replied, “A lot of judges say things like that and then reverse course.” As we previously covered, in September 2017, Oakley sued Dolan and MSG for allegedly humiliating him when he was kicked…
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Charles Oakley Sues Knicks Owner for Madison Square Ejection

On September 12, 2017, Charles Oakley, former power forward for the New York Knicks in the 1980s and 1990s, sued Knicks owner, James Dolan, for allegedly humiliating him when he was kicked out of Madison Square Garden and labeled an alcoholic. Also named in the suit are Madison Square Garden Co. and other related entities. On February 8, 2017, Oakley was kicked out of a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, which Oakley alleged was for no good reason. Security guards told Oakley to leave…
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Los Angeles Lakers Earn Penalty When NBA Fines Them $500K

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced this week that following an investigation, it has fined the Los Angeles Lakers $500,000 for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule. The investigation found that the Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka expressed interest in All-Star Indiana Pacer forward Paul George while George was still under contract with his former team. This violates the NBA’s anti-tampering rules because it is prohibited to express interest in a player while he is still under contract. The punishment comes after the NBA had already…
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Video Game Tattoos Copyright Infringement? NBA 2K Attempts to Close-Out Case

In February 2016, Solid Oak Sketches sued 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software claiming that it owned the copyrights to tattoos on several NBA stars, including Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Eric Beldsoe. The tattoo designers sought actual damages, statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, but in August 2016, a New York federal judge ruled out the latter two. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain stated “in order to obtain statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, a plaintiff must have registered its copyright prior to the alleged…
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