And On The Seventh Day There Was Litigation
It took a week for Tebow mania to hit the courts. On March 28, one week after Tim Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets, Nike sued Reebok under the federal Lanham Act for selling Jets Jerseys with Tebow’s name and number. This is serious business. One day after filing the suit, Nike obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting Reebok from selling any Tebow Jets apparel. The case really comes down to timing. Nike signed a deal with NFL Properties to be the exclusive supplier of jerseys effective April 1. Reebok’s deal with NFL Properties expires March 31. Hardly surprising then that Reebok cranked up the presses to get the Tebow jerseys out while they had time. But apparently, there is another entity involved here – the NFL Players Incorporated. Reebok’s license with that group – which allowed it to use individual player names on jerseys – expired on March 1. According to the suit, Reebok needs permission of both entities to distribute jerseys with Tebow’s name. Can’t blame Reebok for trying to capitalize, but you can’t blame Nike for protecting its investment. We’ll see if “further review” changes anything, but at this point, Reebok may need a Hail Mary pass to win this one. And I think I showed remarkable restraint here by using only two football clichés in this entire post. You’re welcome.