Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Nike countersues National Basketball Association star Kawhi Leonard, wants federal case bounced to Oregon

Nike countersues National Basketball Association star Kawhi Leonard, wants federal case bounced to Oregon

Nike has countersued reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard for allegedly using the "Klaw" logo.

"In this action, Kawhi Leonard seeks to re-write history by asserting that he created the "Claw Design" logo, but it was not Leonard who created that logo", said Nike in its countersuit.

When the design originally was released, Leonard claimed he was behind the logo, but gave Jordan Brand "all the credit" for helping refine the logo's design, according to NiceKnicks.com's George Kiel.

"Moreover, in clear contravention of Leonard's contractual obligations and NIKE's exclusive ownership rights in and to the Claw Design, Leonard has continued to use and reproduce the Claw Design, without NIKE's authorization, on his non-Nike apparel worn publicly, and has manifested his imminent intent to commercially exploit the Claw Design on non-NIKE merchandise". In its countersuit filed this month, however, Nike reportedly says that, while Leonard did share a design sketch he made in college, the finished product featured distinct differences, and that any designs used during their partnership are owned by the company. "Nike is demanding Leonard's lawsuit against them be dismissed and the court grant a permanent injunction against him from using the design". That is true. What is false is that the design he provided was the Claw Design.

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Nike is fighting back against Kawhi Leonard.

Nike is also asking the court to transfer the case to federal court in OR, saying its contract with Leonard required any dispute arising from it to be litigated here. "The "Claw Design" was created by a talented team of Nike designers as Leonard, himself has previously admitted", reads the suit. The company accuses Leonard of "reproducing" its claw design on non-Nike apparel during the National Basketball Association finals in violation of Nike's exclusive copyright.

By mid-March, Nike demanded he "cease and desist" any unauthorized use of the logo. Leonard claims to have created the famous logo by tracing his own hand.

Nike countered in its Wednesday filing, which was done in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California - the same court where Leonard filed his suit. "They are not", reads Nike's statement. Since then, the relationship between Leonard and Nike has been strained.

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