Athletic shoe and apparel maker Nike Inc. has sued rival Reebok International Ltd. over its sales of apparel featuring Tim Tebow, who was recently traded to the New York Jets to serve as the team’s backup quarterback.
“Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets, coupled with the franchise’s location within the NFL’s largest market and the nation’s media center, has created enormous demand for Tebow-identified New York Jets apparel,” the lawsuit said.
“Reebok has sought to take advantage of this unique, short-lived opportunity by supplying, without authorization or license, Tebow-identified New York Jets apparel to retailers in New York and elsewhere around the country.”
As of March 1, Reebok is limited to selling what remains of its existing inventory of products, which would include Tebow apparel from his former team, the Denver Broncos, not the Jets, according to the lawsuit. Tebow’s trade to the Jets was announced March 21.
On March 23, a representative for Tebow advised Reebok that its use of his name was unauthorized, according to the lawsuit.
A separate licensing agreement, which allows Reebok to manufacture jerseys and other apparel featuring NFL logos, expires on March 31, according to the lawsuit. Nike has a five-year deal, beginning April 1, to supply uniforms to all 32 NFL teams.
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