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Unseating the two-time NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals isn’t the only thing on the mind of Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors this week.
On Monday, Mr. Leonard – also known as the Claw, the Klaw or the Hand due to his extremely large hands – sued Nike Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California over its use of a Klaw logo he said he created and plans to use as part of a brand expansion, including clothing and footwear. As part of an endorsement deal with Nike that ended in September 2014, Mr. Leonard allowed Nike to use the logo on certain merchandise, but Nike allegedly filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented that Nike had created the logo, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Leonard is seeking to be declared the sole author of the logo – a decision that will ultimately come down to the licensing agreement between the small forward and the footwear giant, according to sports law attorneys.
“The complaint sets forth claims that strongly indicates confusion and trademark violation. The court would have to look at what Kawhi Leonard alleges, but what the underlying contract is ultimately what’s the most critical,” Marc Edelman, law professor at Baruch College, told CNBC.
Mr. Leonard, who is averaging 37 points per game against Golden State, will turn his attention back to dethroning Steph Curry and company in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night in the quest for Canada’s first NBA championship.
‘Cause nobody needs to know how many times you’ve played “MMMBop” by Hanson.