Fore! Jack Nicklaus Sues Maker of Golf Training Technology for Trademark Infringement

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has sued PowerPro Sports LLC, alleging that they are unlawfully using his likeness and trademarks without his permission to promote a product.

Nicklaus Companies LLC, Jack Nicklaus’ corporate vehicle, has sued PowerPro in Florida federal court. PowerPro makes the Powerchute golf training technology, which the company claims improves golf swing through the use of aerodynamic drag. Nicklaus argues that PowerPro violated his right of publicity under Florida law, as well as violated the federal Lanham Act by engaging in false endorsement, …

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NCAA President Says Student-Athlete Compensation Rule Changes Limited by Antitrust Lawsuits

NCAA President Mark Emmert stated in a panel that the NCAA’s planned reforms regarding student-athlete compensation will be limited by rulings in various antitrust cases.

After California passed a law allowing for student-athlete compensation and many states looked to follow, the NCAA announced in a statement that it would allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image, and likeness. The NCAA stressed that any changes would have to be consistent with the collegiate model.

In addition to new laws and proposed legislation, the NCAA …

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An Unusual Coalition: Five U.S. Senators Spark Bipartisan Effort on Student-Athlete Compensation

A group of five United States senators announced that they will be discussing the drafting of federal legislation addressing the compensation of college athletes. The five senators are: Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Marco Rubio, R-Florida; and David Perdue, R-Georgia.

As we reported earlier, California became the first state to allow student-athletes to be compensated through endorsements or sponsorships. The NCAA was vehemently opposed to any efforts to mandate payment of college athletes and even threatened to ban California schools …

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One More Time: New Lawsuit Argues NCAA Must Pay Athletes Minimum Wage

Trey Johnson, a former defensive back for Villanova University, has sued the NCAA, arguing that the organization has violated federal labor law and that it must pay student-athletes a minimum wage.

In his lawsuit, Johnson argues that student-athletes clearly constitute employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, he notes that college students in work-study programs are classified as employees, meaning that they are subject to minimum wage laws. Meanwhile, student-athletes, who work longer schedules and create the need for some of these work-study …

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NCAA Offers Lifeline: College Athletes To Benefit From Name, Image, Likeness

The NCAA announced it is starting the process to allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image, and likeness. The move comes after multiple states introduced legislation permitting student-athletes to earn this form of compensation.

Previously, we reported California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act. The law will take effect January 1, 2023 and will allow student-athletes to enter into endorsement deals. Since Gov. Newsom signed the California bill, multiple states introduced legislation, including New York. The move …

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Former NFL Players Oppose EA’s Play to Dismiss Madden Suit

On September 1, 2017, a proposed class of former NFL players moved a California Federal Court not to dismiss their suit against Electronic Arts (EA), game maker, for the use of their likenesses in the Madden video games. EA is attempting to remove the remaining five claims of the suit after it was successful in August in dismissing the former NFL players’ claims under a state law statute. EA claimed that the former players’ remaining publicity rights claims are preempted by the Copyright Act.

The …

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Are EA’s Visual Representations in Madden Generic Enough to Avoid Liability in Publicity Claim?

In 2010 Michael Davis and other former NFL players filed suit in California, alleging that video game maker Electronic Arts (EA) violated their rights of publicity when it used famous teams from the past in Madden games from 2001 until 2009. In their complaint, the retired players argued that while EA obtained permission from current players to use their names and likeness, the company failed to do so with the retired players. While the former players did not allege that their names actually appeared in …

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PGA Tour Tells Ninth Circuit that Caddies Appeal in Human Billboard Case Does Not Make the Cut

On July 15, 2016, the PGA Tour filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit arguing that the trial court was correct when it dismissed a lawsuit brought by PGA Tour caddies. Previously, a California federal court tossed the proposed class action lawsuit by the caddies claiming that by forcing the caddies to wear bibs of the PGA Tour sponsors they are covering clothing on their chests and treating them like human billboards which is an abuse of power. The Trial court dismissed the suit and …

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Grocer Calls Foul, Argues for Sanctions Against Michael Jordan

On Monday, July 27, Jewel Food Stores Inc. told an Illinois federal judge that Michael Jordan and his attorneys should be sanctioned in his right of publicity suit.  The lawsuit arose when Jordan accused the grocery chain of using his likeness without his permission in an ad featured in Sports Illustrated, and according to Jewel, Jordan has violated the court’s order to stop repeatedly asking for judgment.

In its response brief, Jewel argued that Jordan’s opposition to proposed jury instructions violates a court order that …

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EA & CLC No Longer “In the Game” With College Athletes

After a long legal battle with college athletes, Electronic Arts (EA) and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) are calling it quits.  On September 26, 2013, the companies announced that they reached a settlement agreement with the former college athletes.  If the judge approves the settlement, the NCAA will be forced to defend the suits on its own.

Four years ago, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, EA, and CLC focusing on college athletes’ rights and compensation.  O’Bannon sought …

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