NBA player's logo is key factor in business litigation case

National Basketball Association fans in California are no doubt familiar with Kawhi Leonard, whose team is preparing to face the Golden State Warriors in the finals this year. Leonard is also facing a legal issue in his private life that basketball enthusiasts hope does not interfere with his game on the court. Athletic sportswear and equipment mogul Nike is also involved in the business litigation situation.

Leonard reportedly filed a lawsuit against the sports shoe icon. He claims that he designed a logo for which Nike has fraudulently obtained a copyright. The claim was filed in a Southern California U.S. District Court.

2011 was the year Leonard was drafted into the NBA. That same year, he is said to have designed a unique logo, using symbols and elements that were personally meaningful to him. In fact, the logo featured a traced design of Leonard's own hand and also included the number 2, which was his uniform number for many years, as well as his name initials. Problems arose when he allowed Nike to feature the logo on some of its merchandise as part of an endorsement deal.

Leonard's business litigation claim states that Nike not only continued to use Leonard's logo design but copyrighted it and claimed itself as the logo author. Leonard apparently planned to use his own design on various products and at sports camps and charity events; however, Nike has voiced its objection to such use. It will now be left to a judge to determine who the true owner of the logo is and whether Nike has committed fraud. Anyone facing similar business complications in California may request a meeting with an attorney well-versed in copyright laws, to explore what options are available to resolve the problem.

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