Kawhi Leonard has major ties to California and hoped to keep his intellectual property lawsuit against Nike in the state, but it appears that will not happen. A California judge recently allowed the case to move to Oregon, where Nike has its headquarters.
Nike, citing their contract with the NBA superstar, had asked for the venue to be changed. The judge agreed that it should be.
The lawsuit began last June, when Leonard was helping to carry the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title. He said that a personal logo he designed — which he calls a “Klaw” — was then trademarked by Nike. They used it on their merchandise, though he says he came up with the logo and drew a rough draft in college.
He was able to provide evidence of that rough draft, which is just a hand-drawn image that appears to be his hand with his initials written on it.
Nike countered that claim by suing him. They essentially said that he can use the logo he created, but they have a different logo for him that their designers came up with. They say he has no right to that logo and that he cannot use it for his personal ventures.
The reason that the case is getting moved over to Oregon is that Nike has a clause in their contract with Leonard stating that any legal action has to happen in their home state.
This is a fairly large intellectual property dispute, with everything hinging on whether the court believes the two logos are separate creations or two versions of the same thing. It will be interesting to see how it turns out and it’s important for all artists and creators to know what rights they have.