Nike fired back and Kawhi Leonard after he filed a lawsuit against the sportswear giant in June 2019. According to TMZ sports, in response Nike filed their own lawsuit against the Los Angeles Clippers superstar claiming that the “Claw Design” is distinctly different from the one Leonard claims to have created in 2011.
In his lawsuit Kawhi claimed he came up with the design while sketching around in college back in 2011. His version consists of his initials K.L. and jersey number #2 in a hand design. Leonard claims that since he created the logo, he should have the rights to it.
Leonard, who was under contract with Nike from 2011 to 2018, claims he got a cease and desist in late ’18 from Swoosh execs who claim they own the copyright to the “Claw Design” and forbid the NBA star from using it elsewhere.
However, Nike’s version of the story is different. Nike claims that they collaborated with Leonard in 2014 to come up with an original design. The two sides exchanged sketches until Nike chose their original design.
Nike also claims that in 2014 Leonard signed off on the company using the final “Claw Design”. Accordingly, Nike filed a trademark application to officially own the rights to the image.
According to Nike, they were surprised to find out in 2017 that Leonard has also applied for registration of a trademark, saying Kawhi had no rights to it and that he had “fraudulently claimed to be the author and sole owner of the Claw Design.”
Nike is counter-suing Kawhi Leonard for copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract.