Why is Kawhi Leonard suing Nike?

This story begins in 2011, just as the San Antonio Spurs drafted Kawhi Leonard. During this period Leonard authored a personal logo which he created from a tracing of his hand, and his ‘KL’ initials within it. A few years down the line Kawhi allowed Nike, as part of an endorsement deal, to use the logo on certain merchandise while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods. The problem arrived when, supposedly unbeknownst to Leonard, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo without his consent. Falsely representing in the application that Nike had authored the logo which has lead to the headline ‘Kawhi Leonard Sues Nike’.

Kawhi Leonard Sues Nike

Why has the ownership of the ‘Klaw’ logo come under question?

The issue is Kawhi Leonard is no longer under contract with Nike, instead signing a deal with New Balance. Not only that, but Kawhi intends to use the logo on clothing lines and footwear; however, Nike has explicitly objected to such uses. So Nike has in fact tried to prevent the use of the logo on anything other than Nike products.

This issue was further dragged to the forefront of everyone’s minds when the Los Angeles Clippers allegedly took steps to acquire the ‘Klaw’ logo from Nike. Their motive for this was reportedly as an attempt to lure Leonard to the Clippers during the free agency period on an account of his contract being up with the Toronto Raptors. This rumoured deal is what motivated Kawhi Leonard to put a stop to the negotiations and Kawhi Leonard is suing Nike, as he feels like his intellectual property is being auctioned off without his consent.

Kawhi Leonard Sues Nike

Air Jordan 1 Pass the Torch price sky rockets since Kawhi Leonard sues Nike

The Air Jordan 1 Pass the Torch came out in April 2018. The design was inspired by Kawhi Leonard’s performance in the 2014 NBA Finals with San Antonio Spurs, coming out before Leonard moved from San Antonio to the Toronto Raptors. The design also came out while Leonard was under contract with Nike and therefore featured his Klaw logo. Since the lawsuit has been filed against Nike the resale market value of the Air Jordan 1 Pass the Torch has skyrocketed taking the online trainer’s price into the realms of £2000+.

Kawhi Leonard Sues Nike