Lights Out: Merriman Lawsuit Against Vermont Teddy Bear Settles

Shawne Merriman, former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, along with his company Lights Out Holdings, has settled a another trademark infringement suit over the usage of his trademark, “Lights Out,” a registered trademark since 2004. The suit alleged that The Vermont Teddy Bear Company used Merriman’s trademark on its product, including teddy bears and pajamas for both adults and children. According to the complaint filed on April 5, 2016, the company “refused to cooperate” through a product name change.

On Thursday, …

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Taking a Second Look: Patent Trial and Appeal Board to Reconsider Denial of Nike’s Motion to Amend Footwear Patent

In a significant decision by the Federal Circuit, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board was ordered on Thursday, February 11, 2016, to reconsider its decision denying apparel giant Nike’s motion to amend a footwear patent. Thursday’s decision represents the first time that the Federal Circuit has not affirmed such a denial by the PTAB.

The patent at issue is one for a technology used in Nike’s “Flyknit” running shoe, specifically pertaining to the manner in which the upper portion of the shoe is manufactured. The …

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Nike and Ohio State Ink 15-Year Sponsorship Contract

The apparel and sportswear war continues. On January 14, 2016, Ohio State and Nike, Inc. announced their deal to extend Nike’s sponsorship of Ohio’s flagship university. The $252 million deal — $112 million in Nike merchandise and $103 million in cash, including royalty income — will extend into the next 15 years.

The competition for contracts among apparel companies is greater than ever, with more companies entering the big stage in recent years — or at least, the big stage in America. Over the last …

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It May Be “Lights Out” For Merriman’s Lawsuit Against Nike

On Friday, January 8, 2016, Nike, Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to put to end to former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman’s trademark infringement lawsuit.

Merriman filed the suit in April 2014, alleging that he is known as “Lights Out,” and that Nike has infringed on his trademark by selling their “lights out” product line because customers will mistakenly believe Merriman has endorsed it. Merriman stated: “After I was given the nickname “Lights Out” in high school, I decided to create a …

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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 …

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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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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

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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 …

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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 …

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