Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard signed an in 2018 after years with Nike's Jordan Brand, but the split was less than cordial, as Leonard sued the Swoosh saying they were unlawfully using his copyrighted "Klaw logo" back in 2019. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected Leonard's claim, according to Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian.
Leonard originally drew up sketches of the "Klaw" while he was a student at San Diego State. The Clippers forward later shared the design with Nike.
Here's a look at the two designs:
"It's not merely a derivative work of the sketch itself," Judge Michael W. Mosman said. "I do find it to be new and significantly different from the design."
Nike did end up countersuing Leonard after he filed the original lawsuit and claimed that they had exclusive rights to the logo. Leonard's lawsuit was originally filed in California, but a change of venue was granted to move the case to Oregon.
"Kawhi put his heart and soul into that design so we are obviously disappointed the judge ruled the logo belongs to Nike and not Kawhi," Leonard's attorney Peter R. Ginsberg said. "We're considering our options to protect Kawhi's interests."
Another one of Leonard's lawyers, Mitchell C. Stein, wanted the judge to look at Leonard's original sketch and compare it to the final logo. Stein believed that they are "one and the same."
However, Nike attorney, Tamar Duvdevani, believes that there are several differences between the original sketch from Leonard's and what Nike's final logo turned out to be.
But Nike attorney Tamar Duvdevani said there are many differences between the rough sketch Leonard presented to Nike with his ideas and the final logo agreed upon in his contract.
"One is not the same as the other,'' Duvdevani said.
"Authorship is more than mere directions and ideas. It's clear here it was Nike's designers who put pen to paper to fix the work in a tangible medium of expression."