Kawhi Leonard filed a federal lawsuit against Nike reagrding the “Klaw” logo. While with Nike Kawhi allowed the company to use the logo on some of their merchandise, but Kawhi used it on non-Nike products as well.
During this time Nike filed for copyright over the logo, but Kawhi claims the logo is his intellectual property, something he’s been working on since his college days. Here’s what the filed lawsuit says;
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. 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.
Then the lawsuit explains the details of the relationship Kawhi had with Nike and how the logo came into play.
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.
This all became an issue when Kawhi signed with New Balance and started using the logo on merchandise produced within this partnership. At that time Nike informed Kawhi that they own the logo and requested they stop using the logo.
Seems absurd that Nike would still sell his merch with the logo on as he is now a New Balance guy, so it remains to be seen are they just trying to force a sale of the intellectual property or will this actually get to court.
Another reminder – it’s a business.