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REPORT: Kawhi Leonard loses Nike ‘Klaw’ logo lawsuit

Kawhi Leonard, Nike, Klaw, Clippers

LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was hoping to reclaim the rights to the famous ‘Klaw’ logo he helped design years ago. Unfortunately, he’s reportedly lost that battle against Nike. According to Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman has rejected Leonard’s claims and in favor of the apparel company.

“… the logo Nike designers helped create with Leonard marked an “independent piece of intellectual property” that was distinct from the original sketch Leonard initially conceived and shared with Nike.

“It’s not merely a derivative work of the sketch itself,” the judge ruled from the bench after an hour of oral argument held by phone as well as multiple briefs filed in the case. “I do find it to be new and significantly different from the design.”

Nike’s lawyer, Tamar Duvdevani, addressed claims of the two images’ likeness, saying the two aren’t the same.

“One is not the same as the other,” she said.

“Authorship is more than mere directions and ideas,” Duvdevani said. “It’s clear here it was Nike’s designers who put pen to paper to fix the work in a tangible medium of expression.”

Reports of Leonard’s lawsuit against Nike first surfaced during the 2019 NBA Finals, when Leonard’s Toronto Raptors took on the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Leonard, however, claims that the lawsuit was filed long before that.

“It happened a long time ago,” Leonard said before Game 3 of the NBA Finals. “You guys are just finding out about it. It’s not a big worry of mine.”

After signing with the Clippers about a month later, Nike responded to Kawhi Leonard and his claim, saying they own the logo and any use of it would be a breach of their contract.

The lawsuit had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic that has taken over the world, but especially the United States.

Leonard signed a multi-year deal with New Balance back in late November of 2018 after reportedly turning down a four-year, $22 million deal extension with Jordan Brand. It’s clear he’s been trying to get back his ‘Klaw’ logo as he continues his partnership with New Balance.

The Clippers also reportedly tried to purchase the logo away from Nike before the start of free agency back in May of 2019.

Prior to the NBA’s hiatus, Kawhi Leonard was having a career-year for the LA Clippers, averaging 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 2.1 three-pointers per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc.