Kawhi Leonard sues Nike over his personal logo

Article Image

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard has filed a lawsuit against Nike over a personal logo that Leonard says ha designed and Nike fraudulently copyrighted.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 3:40 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2019 3:40 PM

Defeating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals isn't the only task at hand for Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard.

On Monday, Leonard filed a lawsuit against Nike over a personal logo that Leonard says Nike fraudulently copyrighted and that Leonard designed.

The nine-page lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Southern District of California.

"In 2011, just after being drafted to the National Basketball Association (the 'NBA'), Kawhi Leonard authored a unique logo that included elements that were meaningful and unique to him," the lawsuit said.

"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.

"Several years later, as part of an endorsement deal with Nike, Leonard allowed Nike to use on certain merchandise the logo he created while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods.

"Unbeknownst to Leonard and without his consent, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo.

"Leonard intends to use the logo on clothing lines, footwear and on other products and, among other things, in connection with sports camps and charity functions, but Nike explicitly has objected to such uses."

A Nike representative told CNN on Monday that the company does not comment on pending litigation. The Raptors declined to pass along any statement from Leonard.

Leonard's contract with Nike expired in September. He's now under contract with New Balance.

A resident of San Diego County, he played college basketball at San Diego State University before entering the 2011 NBA draft. He was selected by the Indiana Pacers but was traded on draft night to the San Antonio Spurs, where he played for seven seasons, winning the NBA Finals and garnering NBA Finals MVP honors in 2014.

Leonard was traded to the Raptors in 2018. Toronto has since gone on to have its best season with the forward, reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The series with the Warriors is even at a game apiece. Game 3 is Wednesday in Oakland.

Lawsuit: Leonard never transferred logo rights to Nike

Leonard signed with Nike in October 2011. During his agreement with the company, the two parties started discussions about creating a logo to add onto merchandise to be sold under the Nike agreement, the lawsuit said.

"Leonard never transferred the rights to the Leonard Logo to Nike -- conversely, as the many communications, including text and e-mails show, Leonard permitted Nike to use the Leonard Logo for their mutual benefit and for the specific purpose of effectuating the Nike Agreement for the term of the contract," the suit said.

"Indeed, Nike representatives recognized Leonard's rights to the Leonard Logo -- referring to it as 'Kawhi's logo' in written communications with Leonard. Leonard, without dispute or challenge from Nike, continued to use the Leonard Logo on non-Nike goods, including apparel and merchandise used for basketball camps, appearances and charity events, even while Nike was affixing Leonard's Logo to Nike merchandise."

In May 2017, the lawsuit alleges, Nike filed an application with the US Copyright Office to register the "Kawhi Leonard Logo" without Leonard's knowledge or consent. On the application, the lawsuit said, Nike claimed authorship in 2014 of the logo and rights and permissions to the logo.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit said, Leonard in November 2017 applied for and subsequently received registration for two trademarks of the logo.

On January 30, Leonard's counsel requested for Nike to rescind its copyrights to the logo, according to the suit. Nike responded March 11 that it owns property rights and demanded Leonard cease use.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33915

Reported Deaths: 2098
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5566253
Cuyahoga4211226
Marion264225
Hamilton2555135
Lucas2178240
Pickaway204836
Mahoning1397173
Summit1335172
Butler84728
Stark70591
Columbiana68451
Lorain66759
Montgomery63717
Trumbull55147
Belmont41212
Miami35230
Warren35119
Tuscarawas3373
Ashtabula32434
Portage31857
Medina31322
Delaware31013
Lake29012
Wood28246
Geauga27231
Wayne26049
Fairfield2515
Clark2345
Licking22210
Allen20632
Clermont2025
Mercer2016
Richland1933
Erie1656
Darke16221
Madison1487
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene1015
Ottawa9312
Putnam8814
Monroe7512
Sandusky7211
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson662
Auglaize653
Huron561
Williams511
Hancock512
Union491
Muskingum480
Clinton430
Hardin420
Shelby403
Fayette390
Wyandot382
Logan370
Fulton370
Coshocton370
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Preble331
Carroll303
Lawrence290
Holmes291
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox231
Highland221
Seneca202
Vinton192
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Jackson130
Paulding130
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Scattered Showers & Storms Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events