Kawhi Leonard vs. Nike

by Williametta Garnett

Seems like the star was not only fighting for a championship ring but also his ownership to the “KLAW” logo.

In June 2019, Kawhi filed a lawsuit against his once endorsed well-renowned sports brand Nike claiming intellectual property ownership to a logo that is popularly called “the Klaw” or “KL2”.

Leonard claims that the logo was originated by him back in December 2011, then he was rookie playing for the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard states that the logo emphasizes his relatively large hands as well as his jersey number. He further states that he shared the design with his friends, advisors, and Nike who had signed Leonard to an endorsement deal a few months prior.

In Leonard’s complaint, he refers to the logo as Leonard Logo which he stresses that the creation was invented by him and was originated prior to any endorsements he had with Nike and thus not the invention of a marketing firm or of any expert retained by an apparel company. Leonard also shared how he consulted with an unnamed creative designer and other experts whom he trusted, taking their feedback and modifying the design, insisting that the design fundamentally reflects his vision.

Leonard is seeking a court declaration that the Leonard Logo doesn’t infringe any rights of Nike, including any rights that Nike might claim it possesses in the Leonard Logo or in any related logos and an injunction to stop Nike from using the logo.

Nike fired back with a countersuit asserting that Leonard is unlawfully combining two separate and unrelated logos and claiming ownership. Nike is suing Leonard for copyright infringement, breach of contract and fraud. Seeking a dismal of Leonard’s lawsuit, and an injunction to stop Leonard from using the logo moving forward.

Leonard and Nike ties ended back in September 2019 which did not server on amicable terms, the star is now endorsed by New Balance who is a competing brand of Nike. With New Balance wanting to maximize the exclusivity of Leonard intellectual property, this suit serves the interest of both Leonard and New Balance. There’s no telling when this case will be resolved, however knowing Leonard he will not stop until this ends with a big win.

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