NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Tim Tebow jerseys had been flying off the shelves since his trade from Denver to the Jets.
Well, sales of No. 15 in green just came to a halt.
Nike Inc. claimed in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday that Reebok International Ltd. has used Tebow’s name on Jets-related apparel without permission since the Tebow deal. The trade occurred just before Nike replaces Reebok on Sunday as the supplier of NFL team uniforms.
Oregon-based Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said early Thursday that a temporary restraining order blocking further sales of the merchandise by Reebok was issued on Wednesday.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims that Reebok misappropriated publicity rights, interfered with business relationships and unjustly enriched itself because it failed to get Tebow’s permission before launching the new products.
“We have filed a complaint relating to unauthorized use of Tim Tebow’s name on New York Jets related apparel,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike is authorized and licensed to use Tim Tebow’s name on products. We have no further comment at this stage.”
Reebok, based in Canton, Mass., did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on the restraining order. The lawsuit said Reebok did not respond to demands to cease Tebow apparel sales after a Tebow representative sent a letter to the company on Friday.
Reebok is a subsidiary of Adidas AG.
According to the lawsuit, new Nike-supplied uniforms for all 32 NFL teams will be unveiled next week in New York City, kicking off a five-year deal for Nike to be the league’s exclusive provider of on-field apparel, including game uniforms and sideline apparel. Reebok had been the supplier for the last decade.
The lawsuit said demands for Tebow-related Jets apparel was intense last week during a normally subdued time for NFL merchandise sales.
It said Nike, based in Beaverton, Ore., believes Reebok was shipping large volumes of Tebow-related apparel products to retailers for sale to the public this week, damaging Nike’s ability to capitalize on a “unique and short-lived opportunity.”
The lawsuit added that it was unlikely that a consumer who buys an unauthorized Tebow jersey or T-shirt from Reebok this week will purchase an authorized Tebow item from Nike next week.
Did you manage to snag your Tebow jersey before the ruling? Sound off below…
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