Nike is finding out the hard way that you don’t mess with former San Diego Chargers player, Shawne Merriman, as he has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the company for snagging his signature moniker.
The uber popular athletic company has dubbed its new clothing line “Lights Out” and the former linebacker is crying ‘time out’ on the company’s bold move, alleging trademark infringement.
“I earned my ‘Lights Out’ nickname in high school when I knocked out four opposing players in one football game,’ said Merriman in a release. “I made things official by securing the federal rights to my LIGHTS OUT trademark and have been using it ever since. I am suing Nike as a last resort, not only to protect my brand, but to protect other athletes who are trying to develop a brand.”
Merriman’s company, Lights Out Holdings, LCC, filed the lawsuit in California Federal Court on Monday.
The suit is calling for a preliminary and permanent injunction to cease all marketing and related unfair business practices regarding Nike’s “Lights Out” products.
In addition are “statutory damages of up to $2 million per content mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale or distribution,” the complaint said.
Back in 2006, Nike began negotiations with Merriman to trademark his famous phrase, but discussions fell short of finalizing an agreement, and nothing materialized between the two parties, according to the lawsuit. In the complaint, it is alleged that Nike decided to go ahead and utilize the brand anyway.
If the suit advances and ends up going to trial, damages will be ascertained at that time.
The NFL linebacker, retired following the 2012 season with 45.5 sacks under his belt during the eight seasons Merriman played for the Chargers and Bills.
Merriman is about to embark on a new career path teaming up with World Wrestling Entertainment.
A spokesman for Nike said the company does not comment on litigation matters.
Nike Crosses the Line with Former San Diego Charger Shawne Merriman