Shawne Merriman Seeks $18M In Case Against Nike
Monday, April 6, 2015
Merriman filed a motion in U.S. District Court in San Diego seeking $18 million in statutory damages as well as Nike's gross profits on false endorsement claims.
Merriman said he was given the nickname "Lights Out" in high school and decided to create the brand while he was attending the University of Maryland.
The standout linebacker-turned-entrepreneur said he sold about 2,000 T- shirts with the "Lights Out" logo, with the proceeds helping him pay his way through college.
"I've carefully grown and developed that brand, but Nike still insists on using it," Merriman said.
Merriman's motion requests that the court decide the pending lawsuit on summary judgment based on undisputed facts in the case.
Nike could not be reached for comment, but has said in the past that it doesn't comment on pending litigation.
Merriman acquired the trademark for "Lights Out" in 2007, and since it has been registered for so long, it became incontestable in 2010, Merriman said. Nike, which is known for developing product lines associated with famous athletes, knew of Merriman's "Lights Out" brand when it signed with him in 2006, according to the lawsuit.
According to the motion, Nike's "Lights Out" apparel line consists of 56 separate products for both men and women and is quite successful.
Merriman is probably most recognizable to sports and athletic enthusiasts, who make up the market Nike's "Lights Out" targets, according to the filing.
"Under the law of false endorsement, the likelihood of customer confusion is the determinative issue," the court document states.
The motion describes Nike's actions as "blatant counterfeiting."
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