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Nike Prosecuted By Kawhi Leonard for Copyright Infringement of Logo: Case Overview

Nike Prosecuted by Kawhi Leonard
| Updated: Nov 18, 2021 | Category: Copyright

Recently Nike Prosecuted by Kawhi Leonard for infringement of his logo’s copyright. Leonard claims he designed the logo early in his NBA career. Nike is alleging that the logo was developed as part of an endorsement arrangement. According to the lawsuit, same filed before the United States District Court Southern District of California, Leonard created a “unique logo” that he “allowed Nike to use on certain merchandise whereas Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods” as part of an endorsement deal with Nike. Nonetheless, the complaint claims that Nike “submitted an application for copyright registration of his mark and fraudulently stated in the application that Nike had developed the logo” without Leonard’s knowledge or agreement.

 Overview of the case

The allegations incorporated in Leonard’s lawsuit, he was unaware of Nike’s registration of the logo after he had signed with New Balance. Leonard claims he created and owns the design and wanted to use it for sales and a banner to lead sports camps and charitable activities. Leonard argued that Nike did not have exclusive rights to the logo, whereas he was the author. In his suit, Leonard asked the court to issue a legal statement stating that he is the only inventor of the logo; his use of the design does not violate any of Nike’s rights; Nike committed fraud against the copyright office while registering the logo. Also, he added that he intends to utilize the mark for various purposes, including clothes, footwear, sports camps, and charity events, but Nike[1] has objected to the usage. 

Facts of the case

In the present case where Nike Prosecuted by kawhi leonard,  Kawhi claimed that he created a design that included his name, jersey number, and a depiction of one of his massive hands, sometimes referred to as “claws,” while in college. Kawhi Leonard inked an endorsed agreement with Nike shortly after joining the league. Kawhi sent Nike a “rough sketch” of the Klaw design he designed in college in 2014. Nike’s team of designers altered the emblem, which was then utilized on garments and footwear. The two parted ways in 2018, and Kawhi secured a new endorsement agreement with New Balance. Nike, of course, insisted that the Klaw copyright belonged to it. Kawhi retaliated by taking the case to court.

What is copyright infringement? 

Nike Prosecuted by Kawhi Leonard on the sole reason of infringement of the copyright of his own created logo. Primarily, Owners of copyright have both economic and moral rights. While economic rights comprise the license to copy, distribute, rent, lend, modify, or perform a ‘work,’ moral rights cover the right of access as the creator, the right not to have work fraudulently credited, and the right to object to the adverse treatment of labor. The use or creation of copyright-protected work without the authorization of the copyright owners is known as copyright infringement. It suggests that a third party infringes on a copyright holder’s rights, such as the exclusive use of a ‘work’ for a specified period.

Practicing any of the following with copyrighted content is a copyright infringement

  • Copying it;
  • Making copies available to the general population;
  • It can be rented or lent to the general public;
  •  Putting it on stage or presenting it to the public;
  •  Getting the word out to a broad audience. 

If someone imports an infringing copy, owns or interacts with it, or offers methods for manufacturing it without authorization, secondary infringement may occur. A copyright owner can pursue legal remedies as well as submit a criminal complaint in situations of infringement. The following are examples of civil remedies:

  • Injunctions are being sought to prevent a further violation;
  •  All infringing items will be delivered to the owner;
  •  The authority to seize copies of infringing articles;
  •  Recovering reparations for loss from the infringer’s profit account.

Court’s Judgment

In the matter where Nike Prosecuted by Kawhi Leonard before the south district Court of California. In this suit court dismissed Kawhi’s claims. For the time being, Nike holds the Klaw logo’s copyright. However, there is still the potential that Kawhi may file an appeal.


The tussle between the two Kawhi Leonard and Nike on claiming the original owner of the logo a “Claw.” At the same time, Kawhi Leonard claimed that he was the creator, and he designed the logo early in his NBA career. Nike Prosecuted by Kawhi Leonard wholly and solely on the ground of infringing Kawhi Leonardo’s copyright. However, the court passed the Judgement in favor of Nike by stating that Nike holds the Klaw logo’s copyright. However, there is still the potential that Kawhi may file an appeal.

Read our Article:India Today Sued Newslaundry For Copyright Infringement

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Siddharth has completed his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. He has a keen interest in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects, especially on Civil, criminal and corporate Law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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