Kawhi Leonard, the star of the Toronto Raptors, filed a lawsuit against Nike on Monday at the US District Court for the Southern District of California for control reclaiming Nike A logo created by Leonard, he says.
"In 2011, shortly after being drafted for the National Basketball Association, Kawhi Leonard created a unique logo containing elements that were meaningful and unique to him," the lawsuit says. "Leonard traced his remarkably large hand and drew in his hand stylized versions of his initials and the number he had worn in large parts throughout his career," # 2 which Leonard wrote was an expansion and continuation of the drawings he had made since the beginning of his college career.
"A few years later, Leonard allowed Nike to use the logo he designed on certain merchandise as part of an advertising contract with Nike Use Created while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike merchandise. Unknown to Leonard and without his consent, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and was erroneously represented in the application written by Nike.
A Nike spokesman declined to comment.
The lawsuit further states that Leonard, who assembled on Monday afternoon before Match 3 of the NBA Final against the Golden State Warriors flew to California with the Raptors, who wanted to use the "Klaw" logo in various functions, including fashion lines, footwear and sports camps and charity events – but Nike disagreed with him, so Leonard wants to regain control of the logo, the he has created athletes as part of the stable by Jordan Brand.
Since then Leonard became a shoe-free agent before signing a contract with New Balance earlier this season, the Boston-based company has launched several campaigns with Leonard this seaso n – One is "Fun Guy" and another is "King of the North" recently, playing a phrase from the recently completed HBO series "Game of Thrones" off.
Theoretically, a new New Balance campaign should be possible sometime in the future – or at least Leonard (should he win) give control over a logo he says should be.
The lawsuit explains in detail how Leonard came up with the idea for the logo developed at the beginning of his rookie season during his Lockout Short 2011 campaign the San Antonio Spurs.
"Leonard is known for his extremely big hands," the lawsuit states. "Throughout his career, viewers have noticed Leonard's big hands, and they are often described as contributing to his success as a player.
" Ever since his college days, Leonard has been pondering and designing ideas for a personal logo that is unique would be for him and reflect something meaningful in terms of his own image. At the end of December 2011 or January 2012, Leonard refined a logo that he had created for several years and that included his big and strong hands, his initials and his jersey number.
"Leonard shared his original authoring work with family and friends, sought the advice and expertise of a creative designer, received comments and suggestions, and made changes to his design."
Later in the lawsuit, Leonard and Nike has been to and fro several times over the last few months regarding the use of the logo, with the last correspondence being in March when Nike told him, "It owns all of the intellectual property rights to the Leonard logo and demands that Leonard be replaced by Nike alleged unauthorized use of Leonard immediately ceases and gives up logo. "
Lastly, the claim states that the plaintiff's aim is to make Leonard the sole author of the logo; Leonard's use of its logo does not affect Nike's rights, including "without limitation to the rights that Nike claims with respect to the Leonard logo"; and that the defendant committed fraud by registering the Leonard logo in the Copyright Office, together with "any other and further relief that this court deems appropriate and appropriate.
Leonard and the Raptors will join the Warriors for Game 3 of the final at the Oakland Oracle Arena on Wednesday night. The series is tied to a game.
Nick DePaula of ESPN contributed to this report.