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Nike, NBA HOF, and Leroy Smith Sued Over Michael Jordan Products

June 24, 2009 – Dr. Anklesnap

News is just being released about a lawsuit being laid by SportsFuzion, Inc. against Nike, the NBA Hall of Fame and Leroy Smith over the manufacturing and sale of Michael Jordan Hall of Fame sportswear. Here is some text for your laughter and enjoyment of the press release announcing the lawsuit:

Boston, MA, June 24, 2009 ­ SportsFuzion, Inc., a sportswear company and the exclusive licensee of the Basketball Hall of Fame¹s sportswear has filed a lawsuit in Norfolk Superior Court in Massachusetts against NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and the NBA Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alleging breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, fraud, and other counts for general and punitive damages. The lawsuit comes after NIKE and the Hall of Fame conspired to eliminate SportsFuzion by manufacturing, marketing, and selling sportswear related to Michael Jordan¹s upcoming Hall of Fame induction. Since 2006, SportsFuzion has been the owner of the exclusive worldwide rights to the Hall of Fame¹s trade names, logos, trademarks, designs, and photos for use in sportswear.

Leveraging Michael Jordan¹s highly anticipated Hall of Fame induction, NIKE will release its Air Jordan Hall of Fame (HOF) Collection into the market this summer. NIKE recently launched a major campaign to promote these products. This campaign includes the website featuring several videos of the fictitious character Leroy Smith­ who supposedly inspired Michael Jordan to greatness. It is estimated that NIKE could sell over $100 million of Michael Jordan Hall of Fame products worldwide.

Beginning in 2005, legal teams for SportsFuzion and the Hall of Fame spent nearly a year negotiating the exclusive worldwide licensing agreement. More than three years ago, SportsFuzion created the concept and a detailed marketing plan around a product line for Michael Jordan¹s induction into the Hall of Fame. ³In 2005, I knew that Michael Jordan¹s induction would be the biggest event in the Hall of Fame¹s history and, like his impact on the NBA and the game of basketball, this product opportunity was enormous,² said Andrew Mirken, president and co-founder of SportsFuzion.

³SportsFuzion was built around my love and passion for basketball and my admiration for Michael Jordan, said Mirken, who has coached high school boys basketball for almost 20 years. Having the opportunity to work with Michael Jordan and all of the great athletes in the Hall of Fame was the dream of my lifetime. Having NIKE and the Hall of Fame go behind our backs to cut us out of the deal has become my worst nightmare.

SportsFuzion, Inc. is a Massachusetts-based sportswear company that owns the exclusive worldwide rights to the Basketball Hall of Fame’s trade names, logos, trademarks, designs, and photos for use in sportswear. SportsFuzion is represented in this matter by Fish & Richardson, the largest intellectual property law firm in the world.

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