Patrick Hammon Reviews Michael Jordan Sports Licensing Battle

Partner Patrick Hammon authored an article for The Licensing Journal titled “Michael Jordan License Teaches Lesson,” exploring a recent California trademark lawsuit involving Michael Jordan’s image on basketball trading cards. Upper Deck, a sports collectible company, sued sports card manufacturer Panini America, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other claims, for including small images of Michael Jordan on cards that featured other players.

The court ultimately dismissed Upper Deck’s infringement claims.  Despite an exclusive license with Jordan for his image and likeness, the license was not “a complete assignment of Jordan’s trademark rights, nor an exclusive license to use such rights in all products.” The court allowed Upper Deck’s commercial misappropriation claims however to proceed.

Patrick explains that this lawsuit provides a key lesson to license drafters: be as precise as possible in exactly what type of license is granted.

To read the full article, click here.