California Intellectual Property Blog


Former NFL Player Sues Under Armour For Trademark Infringement

San Diego – Former National Football League and University of Maryland star Shawne Merriman, along with his company Lights Out Holdings, filed a lawsuit against sportswear company Under Armour over the trademarked phrase “Lights Out.”

“Lights Out” is a phrase Lights Out Holdings trademarked back in 2007. It was Merriman’s nickname throughout his football career, beginning in high school when he knocked four players unconscious during a game. “Lights Out” eventually became the name of his successful San Diego-based company offering multiple product lines.

Recently Under Armour launched a basketball shoe line with Stephen Curry titled “Curry 3 Lights Out,” along with a “Lights Out” mobile game.

Merriman is claiming that Under Armour’s use of the phrase “Lights Out” is a trademark infringement, and that Under Armour is using the recognition of Merrirman’s Lights Out branding to appeal to customers. Merriman argues that the popularity of his brand along with Under Armour’s similar use is likely to lead to confusion among consumers as to brand affiliation.

The lawsuit also claims federal unfair competition, common law unfair competition, false endorsement, violation of the California business and professions code, and breach of contract.

Merriman’s company is seeking a permanent injunction and damages to be decided upon by a jury trial. It also seeks $2 million for every counterfeit item sold, offered for sale, or distributed. Merriman and Lights Out Holding attempted to negotiate with Under Armour in hopes of avoiding the lawsuit, but the parties were unable to reach an agreement.

In response to the lawsuit, Under Armour released a statement saying “We are aware of Mr. Merriman’s claims and find them without merit. Under Armour plans to defend the case.”

This isn’t the first time the two parties disputed over the “Lights Out” trademark. In March 2015, they reached a settlement over a similar trademark infringement claim.

The newest lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The lawsuit comes at a bad time for Under Armour. Its stock recently fell 26% in one day on reports of sales that missed forecasts and lower revenues for 2017 than previously expected.


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