It seems once you become a sports phenomenon, it’s only a matter of time before lawsuits start flying.
Sportswear designer Nike (NYSE:NKE) has just filed suit against rival Adidas (PINK:ADDYY) for using Tim Tebow’s likeness to promote its Reebok subsidiary’s line of athletic clothing. Bloomberg reports that Reebok had inscribed Tim Tebow’s name on a new line of New York Jets-related clothing — shortly before its NFL licensing contract expires March 31st — spurring Nike to file an order in an attempt to bar Adidas from selling the clothing line altogether.
While damages are unspecified, Nike claims sole ownership of Tim Tebow’s name — and maintains Adidas is attempting to illegally capitalize on the name of the rising star with whom it carries an exclusive contract. Further details allege Adidas is blatantly siphoning sales through misusing Tebow’s name, and that Reebok is exploiting fan excitement over Tebow’s March 21 trade from the Broncos to the Jets.
Nike has released a public complaint, stating:
“The opportunity to sell the first Tebow-identified Jets apparel is a unique and short-lived opportunity. It is unlikely that a consumer who purchases an unauthorized Tebow-identified NFL jersey or t-shirt from Reebok this week will purchase an authorized Tebow jersey or t-shirt from Nike the following week.”
While Adidas has yet to respond, it looks like the fight over Tebow is about to get ugly.
– Adam Patterson, InvestorPlace Assistant Editor