– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC
It’s like my logo. I wasn’t even dunking on that one. People think that I was. I just stood on the floor, jumped up and spread my legs and they took the picture. I wasn’t even running. Everyone thought I did that by running and taking off. Actually, it was a ballet move where I jumped up and spread my legs. And I was holding the ball in my left hand.
— Michael Jordan, Hoop Magazine (1997)
The most difficult part of this case is determining how similar the works must be to qualify as substantially similar.
— Judge Michael Mosman
Let’s suppose you decide to start a basketball apparel company today, and get to thinking about the logo. You want something with energy, power, balance, and grace, and after tinkering around with an image or two you like, you settle on the following:
Not long, right?
And no doubt this letter from Brand Jordan would explain that, based on the high degree of similarity in the logos, a likelihood of confusion is certain to exist, resulting in your liability for trademark infringement. Any trademark-types out there interested in trying to defend that case? I think we’d all agree it’s a slam dunk for Brand Jordan.
Now consider another case.