Los Angeles – Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has been asked by a Zion, Illinois-based church to convince athletic footwear and apparel company Adidas to drop a trademark dispute it has waged. Pastor E. James Logan of the Christian Faith Fellowship is imploring the help of Rose, whose name is on an Adidas brand of highly-publicized athletic shoes, to ask his deep-pocketed sponsors to show mercy on the church.
The dispute began last year when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denied Adidas’ application to trademark “AdiZero”, which is the name of one of its popular sub-brands. Apparently, Logan’s church had already trademarked the phrase “Add A Zero” as part of a campaign to boost church donations from its congregation. The phrase was meant to encourage church-goers to add a zero to the annual amount that they donated. According to the church website, it uses the donated funds to operate a food pantry and day-care center, among other things.
Adidas, the German-owned athletic sportswear manufacturer, initially offered the church $5,000 to abandon its trademark. Not surprisingly, the church refused the offer. Reportedly, Adidas won a $300 million jury verdict in a 2008 trademark infringement lawsuit against Payless Shoesource Inc.
In a December 2nd letter to the NBA star, Pastor Logan urged Rose to ask Adidas to abandon the issue. The Adidas AdiZero line has recently released three pairs of the signature shoes from the Derrick Rose line, which was inspired by his childhood days playing basketball in Chicago’s South Side.
A statement from the letter written to Rose, who recently signed a five-year, $94.8 million extension with the Bulls, read, “We are not an affluent congregation, but a working class church in a working class community; and given the state of the economy we are working hard to keep our doors open.
A spokesperson for Adidas said the company would not offer any comment on legal matters but did state that it was open to working with the church to resolve the issue. Neither Rose or his agent were available for comment.