Nike isn’t happy about Tim Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets, not because it messes up the company’s agreement with Tebow but rather because the company believes that Reebok’s sale of Tebow jerseys violated an important NFL licensing agreement.
Reebok’s licensing agreement allowed the company to sell NFL gear until March 1, however Nike’s own agreement doesn’t kick in until April 1. Because of that gap Reebok chose to quickly create and ship thousands of Tim Tebow jersey’s under the New York Jets moniker.
Mike claims that Reebok should only be able to sell off inventory it already had on hand before March 1, jersey’s that would be from the Denver Broncos and not the New York Jets.
In the lawsuit Nike’s lawyers write:
“Reebok has sought to take advantage of this unique, short-lived opportunity by supplying, without authorization or license, Tebow-identified New York Jets apparel to retailers in New York and elsewhere around the country.”
Nike appears to be most upset with the fact that the company has a separate deal with Tim Tebow to product that mark his name. In a statement regarding the jersey’s Nike wrote:
“We have filed a complaint relating to unauthorized use of Tim Tebow’s name on New York Jets related apparel. Nike is authorized and licensed to use Tim Tebow’s name on products. We have no further comment at this stage.”
It’s not very often that the NFL off-season is met with merchandising problems, it’s even more strange to see a merchandising and licensing lawsuit that was filed during a period when not a single company actually owns licensing rights for the league.
In the meantime the NFL’s official NFLShop.com is selling Tim Tebow jerseys that sport the New York Jets jersey.
The Nike vs. Reebok lawsuit was filed on March 27, 2012.