Nike Files Opening Brief in Ninth Circuit “Jumpman” Appeal

On Friday, November 27, 2015, Nike filed its brief urging the Ninth Circuit to uphold the dismissal of allegations that Nike Inc.’s “Jumpman” logo was an improper reproduction of a picture taken of Michael Jordan by plaintiff photographer. The plaintiff photographer, Jacobus Rentmeester, originally took his photograph of Michael Jordan in 1984, and sold it to LIFE Magazine. At the photo-shoot, he captured one of the most well-known pictures of Jordan. He alleges that Nike paid $150 for the use of the negatives from that…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

Stuffed: Photographer’s Claim Against Nike Dismissed

Oregon District Judge Michael W. Mosman issued a ruling on Tuesday dismissing a lawsuit alleging that Nike Inc.’s “Jumpman” logo was an improper reproduction of a picture taken of Michael Jordan by the plaintiff photographer in 1984. The judge wrote: “[a]lthough at first glance there are certainly similarities between the two expressions of the pose, a closer examination reveals several material differences … In the context of thin or very close to thin copyright protection, these differences lead me to find that the…
Continue reading...

Swoosh: Nike Scores $1 Billion NBA Jersey Deal

The NBA has recently announced an eight-year global merchandising and marketing partnership with Nike, Inc. that will begin with the 2017-18 NBA season. Pursuant to the agreement, Nike will become the official oncourt apparel provider for the NBA. The deal will make Nike the first ever apparel provider to have its logo appear on NBA uniforms. This comes after German apparel manufacturer Adidas, the NBA’s previous official outfitter, bowed out of the running for the uniform contract. In securing the contract, Nike reportedly beat out…
Continue reading...

Former San Diego Chargers Wants $18M For “Lights Out” Trademark Infringement

On April 6, Shawne Merriman, former San Diego Chargers linebacker, filed a motion for summary judgment to ask the judge to resolve the trademark infringement dispute that began last year against Nike over “Lights Out” mark. Claiming the ownership of the mark, Merriman said, “After I was given the nickname ‘Lights Out’ ® in high school, I decided to create a brand while I was at the University of Maryland. From 2002-2005 I sold approximately 2000 t-shirts printed with the Lights Out…
Continue reading...

Photographer Claims Infringement by Nike on ‘Jumpman’ Logo

On Thursday, January 22, a professional photographer filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Nike Inc. for their alleged excessive use of his iconic photograph of a mid-air Michael Jordan, which ultimately became the “Jumpman” logo. In 1984, professional photographer, Jacobus Rentmeester,  held a photo-shoot of Michael Jordan on the University of North Carolina campus for an up-coming LIFE magazine issue.  At that photo-shoot, he captured one of the most well-known images in both sports and fashion.  Rentmeester’s lawsuit claims Nike paid $150 for…
Continue reading...

Nike Sues Three Former Top Designers After Move to Adidas

On December 8, Nike filed suit against three of its former designers after they left to work for Adidas.  According to Nike’s suit, Dennis Dekovic, Marc Dolce, and Mark Miner violated their non-compete agreement and stole trade secrets from their former employer. The lawsuit seeks more than $10 million in damages and an injunction preventing the trio from opening a new design center called Brooklyn Design Studio.  Allegedly the studio is a replica of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen.  Nike claims it will suffer irreparable harm and…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

Lance Armstrong Steps Down from Livestrong, Dropped by Nike

Days before the Livestrong Foundation’s 15th anniversary celebration, its founder, Lance Armstrong, announced this morning that he is stepping down as Chairman.   Nike, Inc. also announced today that it is terminating its contract with Armstrong based on the “seemingly insurmountable evidence” that Armstrong participated in doping.  Nike will continue its support of Livestrong initiatives.  Both announcements follow the release of a report last week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency which included testimony from several former teammates that Armstrong both used and trafficked performance enhancing…
Continue reading...