As first reported by TMZ, the Maryland based nonprofit organization, Game Plan Inc., has filed a lawsuit against Lebron James media company, UNINTERRUPTED, over use of the tagline “More than an athlete.” The lawsuit also accuses Nike, Disney, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. of profiting from use of the phrase. Game Plan is seeking a total settlement of around $33 Million from these companies claiming they illegally used the their slogan.
Game Plan claims that they have been using the tagline since early on in 2016, but did not receive the trademark for it until sometime in 2018.
In the suit, Game Plan argues that Lebron stole the idea for the slogan from them after seeing it on t-shirts they were wearing court-side at a Cavs vs. Wizards game back in 2017. According to TMZ, Lebron wasn’t the only player that noticed the shirts that evening. Five-time NBA All-Star John Wall took a photo with staff of the company who were present at the game.
The Lawsuit states, “The attendance at the game gave Game Plan tremendous exposure, as it was able to gain attention from John Wall in front of his peers including the (arguably) most famous athlete in the world, as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, at the time, LeBron James.”
Game Plan mentions in the lawsuit how Lebron & UNINTERRUPTED violated the law by assuming ownership of the phrase and using it to strike deals with ESPN, NBA 2K Video Games, and Nike which resulted in tremendous financial gain without trademark permission.
In a statement to TMZ, a representative from UNINTERRUPTED said, “The complaint filed by Game Plan today is meritless and contains numerous factual inaccuracies. UNINTERRUPTED owns prior rights in and to the ‘More Than An Athlete’ trademark.”
It appears as though UNINTERRUPTED is ready to fight the lawsuit, but none of the other companies involved have commented. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court.
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