NBA star Kawhi Leonard is back in court battling Nike, demanding his lawsuit against them move forward and the case stay put in California.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Leonard is asking a California judge to keep his case in Cali (where he filed it originally) and not move to Oregon. Nike has been trying to get the lawsuit moved to Oregon, where it is based.
Leonard says Nike has presented no evidence to move his case to Oregon.
He writes, “To the contrary, the balance of California is where the key events underlying the allegations of the Complaint occurred (e.g., where Plaintiff created the Leonard Logo while attending SDSU), and is where a number of the witnesses to the key events reside (e.g., Plaintiff’s coaches, teammates, family, people who assisted Plaintiff with the design, and Plaintiff himself).
He continues, "In contrast, Defendant is a multinational corporation with substantial operations throughout Southern California (and the entire world). Defendant interacted with Plaintiff for the most part in Texas, where Plaintiff was employed during his relationship with Defendant, and in Southern California, where Plaintiff spent significant time in the off-season, and certainly not in Oregon.”
A judge has yet to rule on his motion.
Earlier this year, Leonard sued Nike over his Trademarked logo accusing him of ripping off his work. In the suit, he claimed that he created a unique logo for himself after he was drafted to the NBA in 2011.
"Leonard traced his notably large hand," the lawsuit stated, "and, inside the hand, drew stylized versions of his initials 'KL' and the number that he had worn for much of his career, '2.'"
He claimed that as part of his endorsement deal with Nike several years later, he "allowed Nike to use on certain merchandise the logo he created while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods."
But, he claimed that unbeknownst to him, "Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo."
Leonard claims that he wants to use the logo for "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."
The NBA star is asking a judge to declare that he is the rightful owner of the logo and to rule that Nike "committed fraud on the Copyright Office in registering the Leonard Logo."
Nike responded by counter-suing Leonard for using a design they claim to own.
In their response to his lawsuit, they deny all allegations of wrongdoing against Leonard. They explain Leonard signed a deal with them in 2011, which expired in September 2018.
During their partnership, Leonard provided them with designs to use on merchandise. They claim to have used one he gave them and sold products he promoted with it. They claim all designs worked on during the contract are owned by them. Further, they claim the Nike team was the one who created the final design used.
Once their deal ended, Nike says they found out about Leonard using the design he gave them on other non-Nike products. They told him that was a breach of their deal but he refused to cease.
They claim he then sued them during the NBA finals and even started hawking on clothes during the finals without their permission. Nike is demanding Leonard’s lawsuit against them be dismissed and the court grant a permanent injunction against him from using the design.
Both cases are ongoing.