March 30th, 2012 by faye
Nike, one of the biggest manufacturers of publicly traded clothing, footwear and the like has filed a lawsuit against its rival manufacturing company, Reebok. Nike is accusing Reebok of trying to score an illegal Tim Tebow marketing scheme, claiming they have the exclusive rights to Tebow’s name on merchandise.
According to reports, Nike sued Reebok early this week, saying that Reebok used the popular NFL quarterback’s name and number on New York Jets iconic green T-shirts without its permission. Reports say it was done just a day after Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets from the Denver Broncos last week.
Nike claims that Reebok is trying to capitalize on “short-lived intense consumer appetite for such products.” The merchandising company said it is authorized and licensed to use the name of Tim Tebow on football-related products. Now, Nike is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from Reebok. Additionally, the lawsuit accused Reebok of undermining an event scheduled for April 3 in New York to mark Nike’s five-year deal as the league’s exclusive provider of on-field clothing and shoes for all 32 NFL teams.
A rep for Nike released a statement, saying, “We have filed a complaint relating to unauthorized use of Tim Tebow’s name on New York Jets-related apparel. Nike is authorized and licensed to use Tim Tebow’s name on products.”
Nike claims there are only two ways to acquire the right to use an NFL player’s name and number on merchandise, and that is by obtaining the rights directly from the player or by entering a so-called “group license” with NFL Players Inc, the licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, the players’ union. Nike added that it has a license with the players as well as the union and that Reebok didn’t have an agreement with Tim Tebow individually, “nor did it obtain his permission to or consent to the manufacture of Tebow Jets product.”
Reebok had a license with the players’ union, but it expired before March 1, the complaint said. Nike claims that license applies only to Denver Broncos apparel and Tim Tebow did not become a Jets player until March 21.
According to the lawsuit from Nike, a Tim Tebow representative wrote to Reebok on March 23, demanding that it discontinue using his name and remove the products from all locations.