U.S. News | Milkcrate Athletics Sues Adidas over NBA T-shirt Design

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Milkcrate Athletics, a New York City-based fashion brand has filed a lawsuit in the New York District Court for the Southern District of New York against Adidas for trademark infringement over a t-shirt design sold by the German brand in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The plaintiff alleges that the defendant deceptively copied the design of the t-shirt Milkcrate’s founder, Aaron LaCrate without permission or authorization.

The plaintiff reportedly said that Milkcrate’s founder, Aaron LaCrate had series of conversation via emails with Adidas since 2011 where he discussed his ideas, innovation, and shared his designs with Adidas including the image of a milk crate alongside a backboard as a unique and original symbol for his brand.

“He did so in the good faith hope that he would collaborate with, or at least be treated professionally by, adidas, and not have his creations simply taken from him without compensation nor recognition,” Lacrate reportedly said.

The plaintiff alleges that in 2016, Adidas started the sales of “Brooklyn Nets Milkcrate T-Shirts” as part of the apparel for the 2015-2016 NBA season with uncanny resemblance with the plaintiff’s design.

Milkcrate reportedly said that it owns a number of trademarks for its name and “milk crate” design covering clothing, namely t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, headwear, jackets and jeans.

The plaintiff accused the defendant of false designation of origin, deceptive business practices and unfair competition.

The case is still ongoing.

Milkcrate Athletics, Inc. v. adidas North America, Inc. et al

Judge: Jed S Rakoff
Court:New York Southern District Court
Case #: 1:19-cv-07513
Nature of Suit:Trademark
Cause:Trademark Infringement
Case Filed:August 12, 2019
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About Nathaniel Adebayo 623 Articles
Nathaniel is a News Reporting Intern at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (NLIPW). He has a passion for writing, capacity building and social media marketing. He is a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated with BTECHAGRIC. He is a member of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) and the National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). Nathaniel has served as Editor-in-Chief for a number of magazines and as a contributor to various online repositories. Email: anathaniel@nlipw.com