Ladies, Lipstick & Litigation: Copyrights & Basketball

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With the NBA finals coming to a close yesterday, Jeunesse Rutledge and Heidi Thole examine two copyright cases related to the popular sports league in the latest episode of Ladies, Lipstick & Litigation. First, the two discuss a claim Kawhi Leonard, a popular professional basketball player, filed against his former sponsor, Nike, in 2019. Leonard sought outright ownership over a copyrighted logo from Nike that had been based, in part, on a rough design Leonard himself created. Next, they review a copyright infringement case from earlier this year in which Solid Oak Sketches alleged 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software, creators of the popular NBA 2K video game franchise, had infringed upon their copyrights over the tattoos created for current and former NBA players Eric Bledsoe, LeBron James and Kenyon Martin.

In episode one, Jeunesse and Heidi discussed trademarks. How are copyrights different from trademarks? Copyrights and trademarks are distinctively different intellectual property rights. While trademarks are symbols or signs that tell you the source of goods and services, copyrights protect anything that an individual or business creates that is an original expression fixed in a tangible medium. These cover many original works, like artwork, books, music and much more.

Have a product or idea that you believe qualifies for a copyright? Contact Jeunesse Rutledge, Heidi Thole or your Reinhart attorney.


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