Nike Sues Reebok over Tim Tebow Jerseys

The two merchandising giants clash head to head over New York’s new golden child. 

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Tim Tebow is a name that is on the fast track to legendary status and it's no wonder that anyone and everyone is trying to grab a piece of it as it rockets past, even if technically they aren't allowed to. Such is the case of a complaint filed by sportswear giant Nike against sportswear giant Reebok, officially known as Nike Inc v Reebok International, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York No. 12-2275.

Nike is claiming in this complaint that competitor Reebok has infringed upon Nike's rights with their Tim Tebow New York Jets replica Jersey. Apparently, Nike becomes the official manufacturer of NFL merchandise and player apparel on April 1, a position Reebok held until their contract ran out on March 1st, weeks before the Tebow trade to the Big Apple.

The lawsuit, dated March 27th and made public on Wednesday, claims that Reebok "has no authorization from Mr. Tebow or anyone else to use Mr. Tebow's name or other identification on such Jets product.

 "Reebok has taken upon itself to illegitimately seize on this unique and short-lived consumer opportunity … in order to capitalize on the public's short-lived intense consumer appetite for such products, and to prevent Nike from doing so."

In the suit, Nike is claiming that Reebok acted without the authorization of NFL Players, Inc. and with no agreement from Tebow as well, these two ways being the only two that would have allowed Reebok to create their replica jerseys legally. In fact, Nike is claiming that a Tebow representative wrote to Reebok in March to demand that the manufacture of Tebow jerseys be discontinued.

As restitution, Nike is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as the profits from all sales of Tebow-related products manufactured by Reebok after the expiration of Reebok's agreement with the league.

With Nike set to tackle this big NFL contract beginning in April, the company is set to kick off their campaign with the unveiling of Tim Tebow's Jets Jersey in a ceremony to be held in New York next week.