Nike Countersuing Kawhi Leonard Over Klaw Logo

Nike and LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard are still matching legal wits.  

Nike has filed a countersuit against Leonard in response to his lawsuit against the company last month concerning the “Klaw” logo that was developed and used during Leonard’s time as part of the 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 states in its countersuit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where Leonard’s original suit was filed last month. “The ‘Claw Design’ was created by a talented team of NIKE designers, as Leonard, himself, has previously admitted.

In early June, Kawhi’s team announced that they were suing Nike of copyrighting the logo with Leonard’s consent.  

Matthew Kish on Twitter

Breaking: Kawhi Leonard has filed a federal lawsuit against Nike. Leonard claims he designed the logo that appeared on his Nike apparel and Nike copyrighted the logo without his consent.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in an attempt to regain rights over the logo Leonard says he created.

The lawsuit reads, “in 2011, just after being drafted to the National Basketball Association, Kawhi Leonard authored a unique logo that included elements that were meaningful and unique to him.” “Leonard traced his notably large hand, and, inside the hand, drew stylized versions of his initials ‘KL’ and the number that he had worn for much of his career, ‘2.’ The drawing Leonard authored was an extension and continuation of drawings he had been creating since early in his college career.

Adding “several years later, as part of an endorsement deal with Nike, Leonard allowed Nike to use on certain merchandise the logo he created while Leonard continued to use the logo on non-Nike goods. Unbeknownst to Leonard and without his consent, Nike filed an application for copyright registration of his logo and falsely represented in the application that Nike had authored the logo.”

The countersuit is firm on Nike’s stance that Leonard is trying to take credit for the work of the logo’s designers by saying he owns it despite providing only an initial rough draft of the design. They are basically accusing Leonard of attempting to strong-arm them like he did the Dynasty Golden State Warriors this past season in the NBA Finals. 

“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 says.

Nike is still pissed that Leonard abandoned the company during the season to sign with New Balance, which has created several campaigns for the two-time NBA Finals MVP — one being “Fun Guy,” and another, being “King of the North,” playing off a phrase from the recently concluded HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

Legion Hoops on Twitter

New Balance displays their new billboard for Kawhi in Oakland. “The King of the North is Coming.” ?

Nike doesn’t want Kawhi profiting off the logo at all. Leonard feels the same way. It seems we are at a stalemate. Stay tuned for more details.

Back to top