Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard is taking on his former sponsor, Nike, in a trademark dispute over his personal logo. He filed a lawsuit alleging Nike filed a copyright of a logo he originally created without his permission.
Kawhi was a Nike-sponsored athlete from October 2011 until September 2014. He now has a sponsorship deal with competitor New Balance and wants to use his “Klaw” logo on products—but Nike objected.
Scott Rosner, the Academic Director of the M.S. in Sports Management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, noted a lot of bad blood between the star and the company, adding that Nike is trying to prevent New Balance from monetizing Kawhi’s brand.
“A loss for New Balance and Kawhi is a win for Nike,” Rosner said. “The more that Nike can prevent its competitors from gaining any sort of traction the better off they are.”