April 16, 2014

Not-So-Merriman: Former NFL and Current WWE Star Sues Nike for Trademark Infringement

by Guest Blogger

Last week, former star NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman joined WWE. Rumors abound that an important part of his WWE persona will be his nickname "Lights Out." Merriman earned the nickname in high school after he knocked out four opposing players in one football game. During his NFL days, he was known for his "Lights Out" celebration dance. You remember. This dance.

In a move highly endorsed by Trademarkology, Merriman, realizing the value of building a brand around his nickname and dance, obtained federal trademark protection for LIGHTS OUT.

This week, Merriman announced he is suing Nike for infringing the mark. Recently, Nike introduced a "Lights Out" line of shoes and apparel. Merriman was endorsed by Nike during his NFL career and claims that he and Nike had negotiations in 2006 related to a "Lights Out" clothing line. Whether such negotiations ever took place remains to be seen. In 2007, it certainly appeared that Nike intended to make Merriman one of the faces of its brand when it ran this popular commercial featuring the San Diego star.

Merriman claims that he is filing suit against Nike "as a last resort, not only to protect [his] brand, but to protect other athletes who are trying to develop a brand after their professional career." This continues a trend of athletes working to build and maintain their brands - something we here at Trademarkology believe every entrepreneur and business should do. Merriman seems to understand the importance of trademark protection. Like Merriman's new employer WWE in the past, Nike may soon be reminded of it.

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide online trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.