Nike Files Countersuit Against Leonard Over "Klaw" Logo
Nike has "filed a counter suit for copyright infringement" against Clippers F Kawhi Leonard, who six weeks ago filed a suit of his own against Nike over the "Klaw" logo, according to a front-page piece by Patrick Danner of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Nike accuses Leonard of "trying to 're-write history' by asserting that he created the logo." But the company said that a "team of its designers came up with the emblem for a special edition Leonard shoe, and it’s the exclusive owner." Nike "acknowledges that Leonard provided a design to the company that he had been working on for years, including while he was with the Spurs." Though that design "somewhat resembles a child’s turkey hand drawing, with a 'K' and a darkened 'L' written into the hand and the No. 2 forming the outline of the index finger and thumb." Nike "does not claim ownership of this version." The company said in response to Leonard's action that Leonard "signed a contract acknowledging Nike’s exclusive ownership of all rights and interest to the logo." The contract was from '11 until Sept. 30, 2018 (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 7/19).
NEW THREADS: ESPN.com's Tim Bontemps notes the suit "goes on to later point out Leonard used the logo on non-Nike clothing during the NBA Finals, and that he alluded to planning to do so in the future in his own lawsuit last month." Because of this, Nike said in its counter suit that it is "'entitled to the maximum statutory damages recoverable, or for other amounts as may be proper,' in addition to legal fees and other costs" (ESPN.com, 7/19). SI.com's Michael McCann noted New Balance, which "inked Leonard to a multi-year endorsement deal last November, would like the ability to market Leonard without any restrictions stemming from Leonard’s past dealings with Nike" (SI.com, 7/18).