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aawagner011

Nike sues Reebok over use of Tebow likeness

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Can someone explain to me what is actually the problem here? If Reebok's deal with the NFL ends at the end of the month, and Nike's begins at the beginning, what is the issue? Isn't Reebok perfectly in the clear to use their license to produce the product for which they have the exclusive rights all the way through their term?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/03/28/nike.reebok.tim.tebow.ap/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a4&eref=sihp

Let's not make this an "I hate Nike" or "Reebok sucks" thread, I'm legitimately interested in the legal side of this. While it is true that this could damage "Nike's ability to capitalize on a 'unique and short-lived opportunity,'" doesn't Reebok's license allow them to do so? Nike doesn't currently hold the rights, so it makes logical sense that the one who can exploit Tebow's license is currently Reebok.

Thoughts? Help on the matter?

***EDIT*** now with legal docs: http://www.scribd.com/doc/87040950/Nike-v-Reebok

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Can someone explain to me what is actually the problem here? If Reebok's deal with the NFL ends at the end of the month, and Nike's begins at the beginning, what is the issue? Isn't Reebok perfectly in the clear to use their license to produce the product for which they have the exclusive rights all the way through their term?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/03/28/nike.reebok.tim.tebow.ap/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a4&eref=sihp

Let's not make this an "I hate Nike" or "Reebok sucks" thread, I'm legitimately interested in the legal side of this. While it is true that this could damage "Nike's ability to capitalize on a 'unique and short-lived opportunity,'" doesn't Reebok's license allow them to do so? Nike doesn't currently hold the rights, so it makes logical sense that the one who can exploit Tebow's license is currently Reebok.

Thoughts? Help on the matter?

I'm an attorney, and (without being able to read the court filings) it doesn't seem to me like Nike has much of a cause of action. Unless there was something about how the tail end of Reebok's tenure would go, I don't think Nike has much say about anything until the date their license goes into effect. This might be more about reminding the Tebow-adoring public that they can buy a Nike Tebow jersey in a week.

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I don't think it has anything to do with Nike taking over the NFL deal. It reads more that Tebow is a Nike athlete and it relates to that.

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It basically comes down to Tebow and Manning were added to new teams while the month of "limbo" that no Reebok logos could appear on jerseys (i.e. the Pro Line NFL stuff popping up).

Nike's argument is that because Reebok shoo'd in the Tebow jerseys to the masses, Nike missed out on a huge sales opportunity because Tebow jerseys would still be at highest demand when the Nike jerseys hit the shelves...makes sense...

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Can someone explain to me what is actually the problem here? If Reebok's deal with the NFL ends at the end of the month, and Nike's begins at the beginning, what is the issue? Isn't Reebok perfectly in the clear to use their license to produce the product for which they have the exclusive rights all the way through their term?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/03/28/nike.reebok.tim.tebow.ap/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a4&eref=sihp

Let's not make this an "I hate Nike" or "Reebok sucks" thread, I'm legitimately interested in the legal side of this. While it is true that this could damage "Nike's ability to capitalize on a 'unique and short-lived opportunity,'" doesn't Reebok's license allow them to do so? Nike doesn't currently hold the rights, so it makes logical sense that the one who can exploit Tebow's license is currently Reebok.

Thoughts? Help on the matter?

I'm an attorney, and (without being able to read the court filings) it doesn't seem to me like Nike has much of a cause of action. Unless there was something about how the tail end of Reebok's tenure would go, I don't think Nike has much say about anything until the date their license goes into effect. This might be more about reminding the Tebow-adoring public that they can buy a Nike Tebow jersey in a week.

That is what may be in question. Can anyone shed any 100% legit light concerning the bold/underline portion?

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That is what may be in question. Can anyone shed any 100% legit light concerning the bold/underline portion?

I'd tend to doubt it - the NFL really doesn't like releasing specific details of their merchandise contracts.

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That is what may be in question. Can anyone shed any 100% legit light concerning the bold/underline portion?

I'd tend to doubt it - the NFL really doesn't like releasing specific details of their merchandise contracts.

...which would be really helpful to me while writing my Sports Law paper on counterfeit jerseys.

Not trying to hijack the thread or anything. You just hit on a point that's a cause of frustration for me at the moment.

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Haven't read all of it, but check here. Actual legal docs.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/87040950/Nike-v-Reebok

Apparently they can produce team gear, but not player gear during their transition to obscurity. Maybe this explains the logo-free Pro Bowl.

About half way done with the doc, but Reebok's license with NFL Players Inc. expired March 1, Nike's began the same day.

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>>>

I laughed when I first heard about this.

I guarantee anyone that if the roles were reversed Nike would have done the exact same thing, try and make $ money on Tebow and Manning jerseys while they're still within their contract with the NFL.

IMO Nike's case is totally frivolous, and as Al Capone would say to Nike if still alive, "You've got nothing" !!

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I guarantee anyone that if the roles were reversed Nike would have done the exact same thing, try and make $ money on Tebow and Manning jerseys while they're still within their contract with the NFL

Except they're not, because their deal expired March 1?

Pretty impressive of them to crank these out. Wasn't there a shortage of jerseys for a while because Reebok stopped making them since their deal was up?

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>>>

I laughed when I first heard about this.

I guarantee anyone that if the roles were reversed Nike would have done the exact same thing, try and make $ money on Tebow and Manning jerseys while they're still within their contract with the NFL.

IMO Nike's case is totally frivolous, and as Al Capone would say to Nike if still alive, "You've got nothing" !!

Read all 21 pages of the legal documents and try saying "Nike doesn't have a case". I think it's quite the opposite.

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I wrote about this issue this morning. Here's a basic summary of Nike's legal argument.

Though Reebok still has a license to make apparel using NFL marks through March 31, the lawsuit argues that it is prohibited from making products bearing the names of NFL players without their individual consent.

Nike has had an individual agreement with Tebow since March 2010 as well as a group license with the NFL Players Association allowing the company to make products bearing his name.

Reebok, though, has never had an individual agreement with Tebow, and its group license with the NFL Players Association expired March 1 when Nike?s took effect.

At that point, Nike said Reebok?s rights under its NFL Players license were limited to only selling existing inventory. In other words, it could sell Tebow?s Broncos gear, but nothing bearing his name on Jets apparel.

Source: Portland Business Journal

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I wrote about this issue this morning. Here's a basic summary of Nike's legal argument.

Though Reebok still has a license to make apparel using NFL marks through March 31, the lawsuit argues that it is prohibited from making products bearing the names of NFL players without their individual consent.

Nike has had an individual agreement with Tebow since March 2010 as well as a group license with the NFL Players Association allowing the company to make products bearing his name.

Reebok, though, has never had an individual agreement with Tebow, and its group license with the NFL Players Association expired March 1 when Nike?s took effect.

At that point, Nike said Reebok?s rights under its NFL Players license were limited to only selling existing inventory. In other words, it could sell Tebow?s Broncos gear, but nothing bearing his name on Jets apparel.

Source: Portland Business Journal

How much is the lawsuit for? Sounds like Nike actually has a really good case. Adidas/Reebok should've known better. I'm shocked that they would've been so stupid. Wouldn't all of the sales of these jerseys have to go to Nike now?

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I wrote about this issue this morning. Here's a basic summary of Nike's legal argument.

Though Reebok still has a license to make apparel using NFL marks through March 31, the lawsuit argues that it is prohibited from making products bearing the names of NFL players without their individual consent.

Nike has had an individual agreement with Tebow since March 2010 as well as a group license with the NFL Players Association allowing the company to make products bearing his name.

Reebok, though, has never had an individual agreement with Tebow, and its group license with the NFL Players Association expired March 1 when Nike?s took effect.

At that point, Nike said Reebok?s rights under its NFL Players license were limited to only selling existing inventory. In other words, it could sell Tebow?s Broncos gear, but nothing bearing his name on Jets apparel.

Source: Portland Business Journal

How much is the lawsuit for? Sounds like Nike actually has a really good case. Adidas/Reebok should've known better. I'm shocked that they would've been so stupid. Wouldn't all of the sales of these jerseys have to go to Nike now?

Nike is seeking unspecified damages and attorneys fees. The company also wants Reebok to not only recall, destroy and cease making the Tebow products, but also offer to repurchase the product from retailers.

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I wrote about this issue this morning. Here's a basic summary of Nike's legal argument.

Though Reebok still has a license to make apparel using NFL marks through March 31, the lawsuit argues that it is prohibited from making products bearing the names of NFL players without their individual consent.

Nike has had an individual agreement with Tebow since March 2010 as well as a group license with the NFL Players Association allowing the company to make products bearing his name.

Reebok, though, has never had an individual agreement with Tebow, and its group license with the NFL Players Association expired March 1 when Nike?s took effect.

At that point, Nike said Reebok?s rights under its NFL Players license were limited to only selling existing inventory. In other words, it could sell Tebow?s Broncos gear, but nothing bearing his name on Jets apparel.

Source: Portland Business Journal

good info. was watching ESPN earlier and i saw tebow signing a youth sized Jets (Reebok) jersey with his name and number on it. thought it was weird.

havent done much research on this. but if reebok really made the jerseys, thats pretty ballsy. they had to know the repercussions. maybe they were willing to pay the legal fees if it meant a few thousand more reebok vectors would be floating out in the wilderness.

my other thought, is that the team shops may be creating these jerseys with leftover blanks. a friend of mine handled all the merchandising for the mavs/cowboys ... and they have started doing a lot of their custom jerseys with an in-house press.

maybe it was the Jets pro shop trying to make a quick buck and not reebok.

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Apparently the deal with the Players' Association expired at the end of February, while the deal with the league expires at the end of March. So, Reebok technically was not permitted to sell any NFL merchandise featuring player names or likenesses starting March 1, unless it obtained permission from the player in question (Manning is/was a Reebok athlete, so I'm assuming Manning stuff will be made until the final horn sounds on the Reebok NFL license). It will not be permitted to sell NFL team merchandise starting April 1.

My hypothesis (no factual info here): Reebok obviously wanted to cash in on Tebow and make some bank before the end of the deal, as expected. Then there's the retailers, who probably wanted to cash in on Tebow even more, because at retail, timing is everything. The word in all the articles is that Nike merch won't be available for pre-order until April 15, and won't be readily available until late April. If I'm a retailer, there's no way I'm happy about having to wait over a month's time between the Tebow trade and the date when my customers can buy a Tebow jersey, so I'm going to drill Reebok hard to try and get me some Tebow merchandise under any circumstance.

Would make sense, since Nike doesn't have a good reputation among retailers for servicing the licensed apparel business. Reebok could go from moment of trade to in-stores in a couple days or even less. Time will tell how Nike does.

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my other thought, is that the team shops may be creating these jerseys with leftover blanks. a friend of mine handled all the merchandising for the mavs/cowboys ... and they have started doing a lot of their custom jerseys with an in-house press.

maybe it was the Jets pro shop trying to make a quick buck and not reebok.

>>>>

Those were my thoughts exactly.

Denver had one of each Peyton Manning jersey pre-made in # 14, 16, and 18 on the morning of his press conference being unveiled as a Bronco. Teams still have blank authentic jerseys, I sure know the Bills do in both regular home & away along with the blue '65 throwbacks that weren't even worn last season.

What I don't get is why have 2 different contracts with non-identical expiration dates (NFL and Players) ... doesn't make much sense.

Also, I saw on TV this past Monday alot of Tebow jerseys (white away jerseys) shown on ESPN for sale at various NYC shops, but the jersey font was different from the official one the J-E-T-S normally wear, yet Manning's was the official rounded number fonts of the Denver Broncos. So whatever Reebok's were unsold by Sunday the 1st of April, I wondered if they had to be taken off the retail shelves?

What will all the team shops do with all the leftover Reebok apparel come 1-April ?? I haven't seen any fire-sales on Reebok apparel at the shop at NFL.com or BILLS.com ....

Read all 21 pages of the legal documents and try saying "Nike doesn't have a case". I think it's quite the opposite.

>>>>>

I will do so tonight.

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What will all the team shops do with all the leftover Reebok apparel come 1-April ?? I haven't seen any fire-sales on Reebok apparel at the shop at NFL.com or BILLS.com ...

Most likely they will be forced to destroy it. However, Reebok hasn't produced any new goods this year because of the contract change, therefore most of the stuff has been in a fire sell all year long.

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What will all the team shops do with all the leftover Reebok apparel come 1-April ?? I haven't seen any fire-sales on Reebok apparel at the shop at NFL.com or BILLS.com ...

Most likely they will be forced to destroy it. However, Reebok hasn't produced any new goods this year because of the contract change, therefore most of the stuff has been in a fire sell all year long.

I'd assume a lot of left over Reebok stock would get donated to third world countries, just like locker room t-shirts of losing teams.

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What will all the team shops do with all the leftover Reebok apparel come 1-April ?? I haven't seen any fire-sales on Reebok apparel at the shop at NFL.com or BILLS.com ...

Most likely they will be forced to destroy it. However, Reebok hasn't produced any new goods this year because of the contract change, therefore most of the stuff has been in a fire sell all year long.

I'd assume a lot of left over Reebok stock would get donated to third world countries, just like locker room t-shirts of losing teams.

I think a lot of it will end up being sold. Unless retailers are prohibited from selling it after April 1 (which may be the case, I honestly don't know) you will probably be able to pick up old Reebok jerseys off the clearance rack at the store.

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i'm glad i picked up a 50% off tebow reebok replica when i had the chance. at the very least, it'll be a cool collector's item.

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It also boils down to the NFLPA as well; since a player's name and number is on the jersey, their "likeness" is being used. Reebok's contract with the NFLPA expired March 1st, so anything new produced after that would have to be on an player-by-player basis. Manning's gave his permission since Reebok's one of his sponsors, so that's why you see Manning Broncos jerseys floating around, and also why Manning's been excluded from this suit. Tebow, however, did not give Reebok permission.

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And that's why it would seem Reebok doesn't have much of a defence.

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