Clippers' Kawhi Leonard Loses Copyright Lawsuit to Nike over 'Klaw' Logo

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard moves toward the basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 132-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Kawhi Leonard has lost his lawsuit against Nike regarding the "Klaw" logo.

According to TMZ Sports, the judge presiding over the lawsuit ruled that "Nike's design is an 'independent piece of intellectual property' put together by its team of designers and it is distinct from Leonard's early sketch of the idea ... meaning, Leonard doesn't own it. So, the judge dismissed his complaint."

Leonard had said he came up with the idea of the Klaw design all the way back in college (2009-11) and should have rights to it. But Nike issued him a cease-and-desist in 2018, saying it owned the copyright. Nike also countersued Leonard, saying that the design their designers mocked up was different from the rough sketch Leonard designed in 2011.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman agreed with Nike.

"It's not merely a derivative work of the sketch itself," he said in his ruling, per Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian. "I do find it to be new and significantly different from the design."

Leonard was with Nike between 2011 and 2018. He is now with New Balance.

"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," his attorney, Peter R. Ginsberg, said of the ruling. "We're considering our options to protect Kawhi's interests."