Nike has officially filed a countersuit against former Raptor Kawhi Leonard in reaction to the player’s lawsuit against the company last month. Nike’s countersuit is the latest development in a nasty legal battle over the "Klaw" logo. The logo was created for and used by Leonard during his endorsement of the Jordan brand.
Kawhi Leonard filed a lawsuit against Nike back in June after legal issues arose about his “Klaw” logo. According to a report by CNN, Kawhi’s Nike lawsuit was filed after the player accused the company of trying to ban him from using a logo that he designed. Leonard claims to have created the famous logo by tracing his own hand.
Leonard argues that Nike filed a copyright application for his logo without his consent or knowledge. Nike demanded that Leonard stop using the logo earlier this year, despite Leonard's plans to use the design for a clothing line, footwear and other products. The NBA player was under contract with Nike until 2018, when he signed a new endorsement deal with New Balance.
Nike's countersuit statement says, “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's countersuit was filed this past Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the same courthouse where Leonard's initial suit was filed last month, reports ESPN.
According to Sporting News, Nike is currently seeking "maximum statutory damages" as a result of Leonard's actions. Nike claims that Leonard even used the logo on non-Nike clothing, ignoring their legal ownership of the symbol.
“In his Complaint, 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,” reads Nike's statement.
Nike provided a pair of images in the countersuit — the original "Klaw" sketch that Leonard had created, and the finished Nike Claw logo.
If you need a good laugh this morning, check out the images in Nike's countersuit against Kawhi Leonard over the Kl… https://t.co/5jcXPmxZvd— Ben Rohrbach (@Ben Rohrbach)1563464520.0
On Twitter, people are divided about whether or not the athletic apparel giant has a legitimate case against the Board Man:
@brohrbach He used the kindergarten thanksgiving hand turkey for his logo?? 🤣😂🤣 my kids need to sue Nike too then— The EasterBunny Muderer🐰🪓 (@The EasterBunny Muderer🐰🪓)1563486916.0
@brohrbach Wait...why is this a laugh? A non artist has an idea for a logo and makes a rough sketch for world clas… https://t.co/4OCXG59j92— ☠️RaiderNation☠️✌️TrojanFam✌️ (@☠️RaiderNation☠️✌️TrojanFam✌️)1563473424.0
@Pitz73 @brohrbach It's a laugh because he tried to sue Nike. Then you actually see the pictures and realize he has no case.— Mitch Reames (@Mitch Reames)1563475103.0
@brohrbach Kawhi has a case here. Having his logo on an open hand is basically his idea. Of course Nike has to clea… https://t.co/0WueZXZrkx— Joey (@Joey)1563487849.0
@brohrbach The problem I see is Nike's Logo, has clearly the initials " K " and a " L" , with K on the left and L o… https://t.co/5jxq3SdPfL— KarL Erikson (@KarL Erikson)1563473719.0
@brohrbach As a graphic designer, I would own the rights to the new logo unless I gave full ownership to Leonard ev… https://t.co/hV6HJclIgA— Optimo (@Optimo)1563541959.0
“Despite the Contract’s intellectual property ownership provision to which Leonard agreed, and despite his prior public acknowledgment that NIKE authored the Claw Design, Leonard has now decided that he, and not NIKE, is the rightful owner of the registered Claw Design, and has gone even further to accuse NIKE of committing fraud by registering its Claw Design with the Copyright Office,” the suit concludes. The drama continues.