We stated in a recent blog post that “myriad legal considerations can arise for a pro athlete that require close attention from proven business and commercial attorneys.”
As we noted in our August 18 entry, Michael Jordan commands a singular status and niche among professional athletes for the outsized power of his name and brand in the context of commercial marketing and endorsements. Jordan was recently embroiled in litigation in a federal court in which two differing theories regarding the market value of his name and likeness were presented for a jury’s consideration.
As has been the case with so many athletic and business challenges that Jordan has faced, the former hoops superstar and current business mogul also won the battle concerning the market value for use of his name in a commercial context. A jury determined last Friday that Jordan was entitled to nearly $9 million in damages for a defendant’s unauthorized exploitation of his name and face to sell a product.
The endorsement-related business litigation “was never about money,” Jordan averred in the wake of the jury verdict. He stated that his motivation in seeking damages was simply to ensure his right to control the use of his name.
“I worked hard for it … and I’m not just going to let someone take it,” he said. He added that he would donate the entire amount to charity.
Jordan’s case, while admittedly a high-profile matter, is squarely representative of many other cases that highlight the attempts of a third party to illegally profit from the unauthorized use of a well-known person’s name and likeness.
Laws exist to protect high-profile individuals from such exploitation. A proven business litigation attorney can seek to ensure that they are duly applied in a given case and that the intellectual property rights of a client are safeguarded against wrongful third-party appropriation.
Source: CNBC, “Supermarket must pay Michael Jordan $8.9 million for using name” author uncited (Associated Press), Aug. 22, 2015
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