TMZ: Nike Countersues Kawhi Leonard for 'Klaw' Logo Copyright Claim

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2019

Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard in action during the second half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 112-101. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Nike has responded to Kawhi Leonard's lawsuit against the company, countersuing Leonard while claiming the logo they created for the Los Angeles Clippers superstar in 2014 differs significantly from the conceptual logo he drew back in 2011, according to TMZ Sports

You can see both the drawing and the actual logo below:

Per that report, Leonard said he received a cease and desist request from Nike in late 2018 claiming "they own the copyright to the 'Claw Design' and forbid the NBA star from using it elsewhere."

Nike is specifically countersuing Leonard for copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract.

In Leonard's lawsuit, it was argued that he created the logo, based on his sketch in 2011, and should have copyright claims to it (h/t Tim Bontemps of ESPN):

"Leonard traced his notably large hand, and, inside the hand, drew stylized versions of his initials 'KL' and the number that he had worn for much of his career, '2.' The drawing Leonard authored was an extension and continuation of drawings he had been creating since early in his college career.

"Several years later, as part of an endorsement deal with Nike, Leonard allowed Nike to use on certain merchandise the logo he created while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods. Unbeknownst to Leonard and without his consent, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo."

Nike's counter is that they worked with Leonard on developing the eventual logo they settled on and came to him with a "number of proposed designs," per TMZ.

Nike did acknowledge in the lawsuit that Leonard sent them his original drawing but said they created an "original" design based on that picture. They also said that Leonard was on board with the "Claw Design" and filed a trademark application in 2014.

Leonard filed his own trademark claim in 2017, and Nike noted in their lawsuit that Leonard "fraudulently claimed to be the author and sole owner of the Claw Design."

Leonard previously had a shoe deal with Nike's Jordan Brand but signed with New Balance during the 2018-19 season.

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