Thursday, August 20, 2015

Michael Jordan is Very Serious About Protecting His Trademark

WSJ reports:

A jury on Tuesday heard from the retired basketball superstar in a case about how much a shuttered grocery-store chain owes him for a 2009 advertisement featuring his name and team number. In the magazine ad, Dominick’s stores congratulated Mr. Jordan on his Hall of Fame induction featuring the slogan “You are a cut above” and a $2 coupon for steak.

“It is something I value very preciously,” Mr. Jordan said of his image, wearing a dark suit and occasionally donning reading glasses.

Mr. Jordan testified he doesn’t do single ads and wouldn’t have given Dominick’s the rights to use his image. He also made it clear that the Jordan brand doesn’t come cheap.

“I didn’t do deals for anything less than $10 million,” Mr. Jordan said...

 In testimony earlier this week, Curtis Polk, a longtime Jordan adviser and vice chairman of the Charlotte Hornets, said the former NBA star made more than $100 million from marketing endorsements in 2014, surpassing in one year what he made in salary over his career with the Chicago Bulls...

Mr. Jordan’s lawyer Fred Sperling likened the value of the former NBA star’s image to that of the Hope Diamond, detailing in his opening statement last week the staggering amounts that companies paid to the superstar’s for his likeness. Nike Inc. shelled out $480 million from 2000 to 2012, while Hanes, Upper Deck and Gatorade have all paid sums between $14 million and $18 million...

Mr. Jordan has a history of restricting the use of his image with a zealousness displayed by few other athletes, according to Allen Sanderson, a sports economist at the University of Chicago. He pointed to when Mr. Jordan played on the U.S. basketball team that won the U.S. the gold medal in the 1992 Olympic Games. Shirts printed to commemorate “The Dream Team,” as the team lineup was called, featured every player’s face—except that of Mr. Jordan.

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