Nike has countersued Kawhi Leonard in a dispute over the NBA star’s signature “Klaw” logo.
In early June, Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Finals win, filed a federal lawsuit against Nike on Monday, claiming the footwear giant copyrighted the “Klaw” logo that he designed without his consent and is now blocking him from using the logo he believes he owns. Leonard, a Nike endorser until 2018, is now endorsed by New Balance.
In the countersuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Nike said Leonard did not create the logo, which debuted during his time with the San Antonio Spurs
fter winning the NBA Finals and single-handedly reshaping the league’s power structure in free agency, Kawhi Leonard’s toughest opponent might actually be off the basketball court.
“In this action, Kawhi Leonard seeks to re-write history by asserting that he created the ‘Claw Design’ logo, but it was not Leonard who created that logo,” Nike stated. “The ‘Claw Design’ was created by a talented team of Nike designers, as Leonard, himself, has previously admitted … Leonard alleges he provided a design to Nike. That is true. What is false is that the design he provided was the Claw Design. Not once in his Complaint does Leonard display or attach either the design that he provided or the Claw Design. Instead, he conflates the two, making it appear as though those discrete works are one and the same. They are not.”
Nike’s countersuit also alleges that Leonard has violated his previous contract with Nike by continuing to “use and reproduce the Claw Design, without Nike’s authorization, on his non-Nike apparel worn publicly,” including during this summer’s NBA Finals.
Nike is requesting that Leonard no longer be allowed to use the logo and the dismissal of Leonard’s lawsuit, according to si.com.