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June 2019
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Kawhi Leonard Accuses Nike Of Trying To Steal His Logo Via Trademark

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As we've stated in previous posts, Nike has a reputation for jealously protecting its intellectual property, while also on occasion acting as though those same rules don't apply to its actions. This isn't terribly uncommon among those that treat IP concerns more severely: IP for me, but not for thee. Still, Nike does have some past examples of its own hypocrisy that are fairly glaring.But nothing compares to the accusations against the company made by Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, who claims that Nike basically tried to trademark his logo design out from under him.

Kawhi Leonard has sued Nike, the apparel company with whom he recently ended an endorsement contract, over control of the “Klaw” logo used to identify his branded merchandise. Kawhi says he provided the logo to Nike, and that Nike’s claim to ownership of the logo is based upon an underhanded move to go to the United States Copyright Office and claim “authorship” and “rights and permissions” behind his back.The lawsuit says that the “Klaw” logo marketed by Nike when they had Kawhi under contract was the product of Kawhi’s imagination, and was refined by Kawhi mostly without Nike’s participation, before he ever signed with the brand.
The lawsuit states that for the period of time in which Leonard was under Nike contract, everyone was in full agreement that the logo was his. Nike sought to alter the logo several times, but Leonard rejected those requests. In 2014, he did allow Nike to use the logo on its Kawhi Leonard merchandise, but only for as long as he was contracted for sponsorship with Nike. The acknowledgement of ownership went so far as Nike declining to pursue legal action against 3rd parties that used the logo, ostensibly at Leonard's request.It was only in 2018, when Leonard left Nike for a sponsorship deal with New Balance, that he discovered Nike had gone ahead and trademarked his logo in 2017 without his knowledge.
But Nike’s quiet registering of the logo in 2017 eventually came to Kawhi’s attention late in 2018, after Kawhi left Nike to sign with New Balance in November. Apparently Nike executive John Matterazzo sent Kawhi’s people a cease and desist letter the following month, asserting Nike’s ownership of the logo and demanding that it not be used on non-Nike merchandise.You will remember, this is the logo that the Los Angeles Clippers reportedly looked into buying away from Nike as part of their anticipated courtship of Leonard this summer. The organization was apparently interested in passing along Nike’s ownership share of the logo to Kawhi as a condition of Kawhi jumping to the Clippers in free agency. Marc Stein reported then that Nike, meanwhile, “is intent on rebuffing all approaches and retaining its rights to that logo for as long as it can.”
Nike's response to the lawsuit is going to be fascinating. Hearing the legal retort as to why the company has any trademark rights save what was in Leonard's sponsorship contract ought to be interesting. As is, perhaps, why certain other IP rights to the logo shouldn't apply, given Leonard's claim that he created it, such as copyright. For a superstar like Kawhi Leonard, it seems absurd to think that such a detail in a sponsorship contract wouldn't have been uncovered by his own legal representation prior to filing this lawsuit. It's also beyond weird to have Leonard no longer be a Nike athlete, but to have Nike still utilize his logo that denotes his brand.All of this is strange, but it's also worth recalling the hypocrisy in all of this. Nike is aggressive, it seems, both in its enforcement of its own IP rights and in allegedly how it violates others'.

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Australian Federal Police Raid Even More Journalists Over Leaked Documents

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Australia got scary in a hurry.One day after raiding the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst over the publication of leaked documents detailing the government's domestic surveillance plans, the Australian Federal Police raided ABC News Australia over leaked documents detailing the killing of unarmed civilians by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.Somewhat surprisingly, the AFP did not prevent John Lyons, the executive editor of ABC News, from live-tweeting the entire raid. This resulted in an astounding stream of tweets (with photos!) showing the AFP was seeking a wealth of information from ABC offices, including notes, correspondence, reports, briefing documents, photographs, and anything else it could use to (presumably) find the source of the leaks.The AFP claims the raid of the ABC offices has nothing to do with its raid of a journalist's home the previous day. This is only true in the sense that two different sets of leaks were targeted. In the greater scheme of things, they are very definitely related, as is the investigation currently being pursued by the Department of Home Affairs targeting yet another journalist over a story about asylum seekers seeking to enter Australia by boat.Journalists all over the world are shocked by the Australian government's actions, which directly threaten press freedom in that country. The continuing expansion of its national security powers have reduced the rights of the country's citizens. These powers are on full public display, being utilized in an incredibly damaging way.The head of the Home Affairs office seems less than concerned about the destruction of rights and freedoms happening in the country he's supposed to be protecting.

A later statement from the AFP said Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was "not notified prior to the execution of the warrants"."The AFP's actions have been independent and impartial at all times," it said."When the AFP receives referrals it assesses them for criminality and does not make value judgements on the issue instead identifying whether there has been any contraventions of Commonwealth Law, and when [sic] evidence as to whether the offence has been committed or otherwise."
This bit of bureaucracy speech isn't nearly as alarming as the statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who characterized the no-longer-theoretical threat to journalism as solid policework.
Asked if the news troubled him, he said: “It never troubles me that our laws are being upheld.”
That's how those up top feel about running leak investigations through the offices and houses of Australian journalists. There's apparently nothing wrong with destroying a private sector instrument of government accountability in the name of national security.

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