Annals of sports trademarks

by Walter Olson on January 6, 2010

Two Chicago grocery store chains, Jewel and Dominick’s, bought full-page ads in “a special commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated magazine dedicated to [Michael] Jordan and his career”. The ads saluted the Chicago Bulls great for his achievements. Jordan proceeded to sue them for trademark infringement. [Chicago Breaking Sports, Tactical IP via Legal Satyricon]

{ 2 comments }

1 Doug 01.06.10 at 9:18 am

Ah, the old Chuck Yeager offense.

2 Patrick 01.06.10 at 9:26 am

It’s worth pointing out that the infringement claims, especially in the case of Dominick’s, are premised on Jordan’s ownership of two steakhouses and an online steak business. I doubt I’d buy an online steak, and I’d certainly never buy one from Jordan (probably tough and stringy), but if Jordan allows Dominick’s to advertise its steaks using his name, it may well expose him to an abandonment defense the next time some more malicious entity tries to do the same.

Of course this could have been handled by a sharply worded “You’re infringing our client’s trademark, but we’ll grant you a limited license retroactively, please accept by signing here indicating you acknowledge the primacy of the mark” letter to Dominick’s and its counsel.

Disclaimer: I’m a UNC alumnus and a basketball fan, and so am inclined to give Jordan the benefit of the doubt. I blame his lawyers at Schiff Hardin.

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