Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard's claim that US apparel company Nike had unlawfully copyrighted his 'Klaw' logo, was rejected by a district judge on Wednesday. Oregon Live broke the news stating US District Judge Michael W. Mosman sided with Nike and thereby dismissed Leonard's lawsuit.
Kawhi Leonard filed the lawsuit against Nike in June 2019 during the NBA Finals between Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors. Right after Leonard ended his association with Nike's Jordan brand and became the new face of New Balance's new line of basketball sneakers, the lawsuit was reportedly filed by the NBA star. In the lawsuit, Leonard claimed that Nike unlawfully copyrighted his 'Klaw' logo which he drew during his college days.
If you need a good laugh this morning, check out the images in Nike's countersuit against Kawhi Leonard over the Klaw logo. pic.twitter.com/6w0GlthV1P— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) July 18, 2019
Nike subsequently filed a countersuit in July 2019 accusing Kawhi Leonard of copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract. Nike's argument stated Leonard had shared the design with the creatives at Nike but the final design was a creation of their designers. Nike copyrighted the 'Klaw' logo in 2014 in collaboration with Kawhi Leonard. However, in 2017, Leonard filed for copyright protection of his logo and claimed sole ownership of the 'Klaw' design, claimed Nike.
Wednesday's ruling by Judge Mosman, as quoted by Oregon Live, stated the disputed artwork was not just a derivative of Kawhi Leonard's sketch. Mosman said he found the final design to be "new and significantly different" from the original sketch and hence, the lawsuit was dismissed.
After the ruling, Kawhi Leonard's attorney Peter Ginsberg stated his team will explore other options after the judge sided with the apparel manufacturer. "Kawhi put his heart and soul into that design so we are obviously disappointed the judge ruled the logo belongs to Nike and not Kawhi. We’re considering our options to protect Kawhi’s interests," said Ginsberg. It remains to be seen what avenues Kawhi Leonard's team of attorneys would explore in order to overturn the latest ruling.