Enriching Life Through Innovative Ideas SM

Basketball star faces lawsuit in trademark dispute over slogan

Entrepreneurs who have ideas or products they want to protect from illegal use should understand the complexity of trademark laws. Because many concepts are vulnerable to theft, trademark misappropriation concerns that pop up should be addressed. One notable recent trademark case involves a basketball star/business owner who is accused of utilizing and profiting from a phrase that was trademarked by another company.

World famous NBA player LeBron James is facing accusations that his company, Uninterrupted, unfairly profited from a trademarked phrase. The phrase in contention, ‘I am more than an athlete” had been trademarked by a nonprofit called Game Plan. The lawsuit claims that Mr. James has been generating revenue by utilizing the phrase. In addition to Mr. James’ company, Nike, ESPN, and video game maker of the NBA 2K series Take-Two Interactive, are also named as defendants.

Game Plan is seeking $33 million in the lawsuit. The nonprofit had used the slogan since 2016 and received a trademark for it in 2018. The complaint asserts that Mr. James used the slogan to respond to Fox News talk show host, Laura Ingraham, who had told him to “shut up and dribble.” Furthermore, the phrase gained rapid public attention when it was made into a sign with neon lights and posted on Mr. James’ Instagram account. James also placed a hashtag underneath the image refusing to shut up and dribble. The image was dated Feb. 16, 2018, and the sign is placed in the Los Angeles office of Uninterrupted.

Because Mr. James used a major social media outlet like Instagram, Game Plan says that the coverage James and his company received violated Game Plan’s trademark. Having a trademark dispute can be difficult. This is especially true when the entity that allegedly committed the violation is owned by a famous person. To recover compensation, it might be beneficial to have legal advice. A law firm experienced in protecting trademarks and other aspects of intellectual property law may be able to help.

FindLaw Network

What Our Clients Say

Starting a new business can be a bit scary. Aside from worries of failure, there’s also the hassle of making sure all legal paperwork are properly filed. I reached out to Mr. Wang (Tommy) because of his excellent reviews and reputation and I am so glad I did. He was thorough and meticulous in answering all of my concerns and took time to find out special laws and policies regarding the kind of business I am starting. I could focus on the daily practical side of starting my new office without worry because I felt Tommy was reliable and took my case seriously. My business is opened and it’s all been a smooth start because of Tommy’s help. I have plans to start another business venture in the next few years and I already know I’ll be coming back to Wang IP Law.

The Shindig W.

I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.


I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.


Read All