U.S. News | Kawhi Leonard Sues Nike Over Alleged Copyright Infringement


A Toronto Raptors player, Kawhi Leonard, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against Nike alleging copyright Infringement.

The plaintiff alleges that Nike stole an original logo he had created while in college.

According to the lawsuit, Kawhi Leonard claimed that he authored a unique logo created while in college and entered an endorsement deal with Nike allowing Nike to use the logo on certain merchandise while Leonard continues to use the logo on non-Nike goods.

The defendant alleges that Nike bridged the agreement and filed an application for copyright registration of his logo without his knowledge and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo describing in great detail how the logo was allegedly developed, and how unique its elements are to the basketball star.

The plaintiff alleges that Nike has since objected the use of the “Klaw” logo on a number of different purposes in the future.

“In 2011, just after being drafted to the National Basketball Association, Kawhi Leonard authored a unique logo that included elements that were meaningful and unique to him,” the lawsuit says.

“Leonard traced his notably large hand, and, inside the hand, drew stylized versions of his initials ‘KL’ and the number that he had worn for much of his career, ‘2.’ The drawing Leonard authored was an extension and continuation of drawings he had been creating since early in his college career.” – the lawsuit added.

The plaintiff alleges that Nike was only allowed to use the logo in a certain deal, which did not stipulate a transfer of Leonard’s intellectual property to Nike.

The case is still pending.

Leonard v. Nike, Inc.

California Southern District Court
Judge:Cynthia Bashant
Case #:3:19-cv-01035
Nature of SuitCopyrights
Cause Copyright Infringement
Case Filed:Jun 03, 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