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NBA Star Slam Dunked in Trade Mark Dispute

It is not uncommon to hear about famous people, including sports stars, obtaining trade mark protection for their names or other famous elements to protect and monetise their brands. Indeed, we have recently reported on Usain Bolt’s application to trade mark his lightning bolt pose. It is however more unusual to hear about sports stars who have lost control of their own name, but that is what appears to have happened to Slovenian NBA star Luka Doncic.

Doncic is a 23-year-old player for the Dallas Mavericks who, at the age of 18, during his rookie year in the NBA gave his mother permission to register his name as a trade mark with the mark being his name and number – ‘LUKA DONCIC 7’. Doncic has since sought to monetise and control his own brand and asked his mother to give up the trade mark which she refused to do, which must make things interesting at Christmas.

Last season Doncic unveiled a new logo and as part of this, he applied to register his name as a trade mark. This was rejected by the US trade mark office on the basis of the earlier trade mark owned by his mother. As a result, Doncic has now filed an action seeking to have the trade mark owned by his mother cancelled. This appears to be the last attempt by Doncic to claim full control over his name and it will be interesting to see whether he is successful.

This story demonstrates the importance of registering your brand regardless of how strong you think it is or how synonymous it is with you and your business. Failure to do so could lead to you not being able to use the brand or having to get embroiled in a legal fight in respect of the name. If this story has raised any concerns for you please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or by email at legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: EU/International, Legal News, News, Trade Marks

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