April 17, 2019
The Australian clothing brand Coogi is suing the Brooklyn Nets, Nike and the NBA over a special edition jersey design inspired by Notorious B.I.G.
The late rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was closely associated with the brand and had been photographed wearing Coogi’s clothing. He also mentioned the brand in the lyrics of his songs, including his 1996 hit “Hypnotize” in which he rhymed, “every cutie with a booty bought a Coogi.”
Since the basketball franchise relocated to Brooklyn, the Nets have tried to align their brand with Notorious B.I.G., who grew up in a neighbourhood near the Barclays Center. The jersey at issue in the suit features a multicoloured striped pattern called the “Brooklyn Camo”. Designed by Nike as part of its “City Edition” jersey line, the design was meant to pay tribute to Wallace.
Coogi has claimed that the pattern used on the jerseys is an infringement of the brand’s “distinctive multicolored pattern” and that Coogi never gave authorization for the use of its design. Coogi has argued that the Brooklyn Nets, Nike and the NBA designed, marketed and sold the jersey to confuse consumers about the connection between their products, Wallace and the Coogi brand. Coogi is seeking damages and wants sales of the jerseys to be stopped.
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Ti-Anna Wang