Nike Files Countersuit Against Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard

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Kawhi Leonard
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Nike is hitting back at Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard in response to his lawsuit against the company this summer over the “Klaw” logo.

The logo was developed and used during Leonard’s time as part of Jordan Brand.

“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 in its countersuit.

The countersuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where Leonard filed his initial suit last month.

“The ‘Claw Design’ was created by a talented team of NIKE designers, as Leonard, himself, has previously admitted.

“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.”

Nike goes on to state that Leonard is attempting to take credit for the work of the logo’s designers by saying he owns it despite Leonard providing only the rough draft of the design.

“Despite the Contract’s intellectual property ownership provision to which Leonard agreed, and despite his prior public acknowledgement 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,” Nike says.

“Moreover, in clear contravention of Leonard’s contractual obligations and NIKE’s exclusive ownership rights in and to the Claw Design, Leonard has continued to use and reproduce the Claw Design, without NIKE’s authorization, on his non-Nike apparel worn publicly, and has manifested his imminent intent to commercially exploit the Claw Design on non-NIKE merchandise.”

Nike stated that Leonard used the logo on non-Nike clothing during the 2019 NBA Finals when Leonard was a part of the Toronto Raptors, who beat the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship.

Nike claims it is “entitled to the maximum statutory damages recoverable, or for other amounts as may be proper,” in addition to legal fees and other costs.