March 8, 2019
NBA rookie and Slovenian-born Luka Dončić is known affectionately by fans as ‘THE MATADOR’ and ‘EL MATADOR’.
Dončić, who played for Spanish basketball team Real Madrid before being drafted to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks in 2018, was nicknamed by Mike Procopio, the Mavericks’ player development coach. As reported by Forbes, the team has recently filed trademark requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking the rights to both of Dončić’s nicknames.
Trademark lawyer Josh Gerben indicated, via Twitter, that the Mavericks will require Dončić’s written permission in order to register the trademarks, since the names ultimately belong to him. At the time of filing, The Mavericks did not have Dončić’s consent. Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban characterized the filing as a sort of routine ‘due diligence’ designed to protect the assets of the team as well as those of its players.
It remains to be seen whether Dončić will hand over his rights in the nicknames to the team. At 19 years old, Dončić’s career is just getting started. If the Mavericks successfully obtain the trademarks, Dončić will lose his rights to both nicknames – a potentially messy outcome if and when Dončić is traded in the future. Either way, it will likely be several months before the Patent and Trademark Office approves or denies the request. For the time being, it sounds like the ball is in Dončić’s court.
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Anna Condon