Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is reportedly suing Nike over improper use of his trademarked “Klaw” logo according to Matthew Kish of the Portland Business Journal. A Nike spokesperson was contacted by The Portland Business Journal, but has declined to comment.
The federal lawsuit claims that the logo his team designed for his Nike apparel and the athletic wear giant “falsely” claimed it created the logo in a copyright registration. Leonard, a San Diego native, filed the lawsuit in United States district Court in Southern California.
The timing of this lawsuit is pertinent. The Los Angeles Clippers recently looked into the possibility of purchasing the remaining portion of the rights to Leonard’s “Klaw” logo from Nike, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was also slapped with a $50,000 fine for tampering by comparing Kawhi Leonard, on an ESPN broadcast, to Michael Jordan. Needless to say, the Clippers are courting Kawhi Leonard and are preparing to make a pitch to the soon-to-be free agent.
The nine-page lawsuit outlines that the logo is an extension of drawings that Leonard made in college and allowed Nike to use on “certain merchandise” when he endorsed them. Leonard’s contract with Nike expired in September 2018 and he is currently endorsing New Balance. The lawsuit also claims, according to Kish, that Leonard would like to use the logo on his own merchandise like clothing and footwear as well as in relation to charities and basketball camps.
The New York-based law firm representing Kawhi Leonard was approached by The Portland Business Journal, but also declined comment.