Mike Tyson made a career of knocking opponents out in the boxing ring. Now, the former heavyweight champion is keen to score a KO in court in a case involving alleged trademark infringement and Tyson-branded merchandise.
One of the most famous boxers of all-time, Tyson this month sued a Las Vegas-based company doing business as “The Boxing Hall of Fame Inc.” (BHF) and its reported proprietor Steven Lott in federal court in Nevada.
The suit alleges that BHF created apparel, such as T-shirts, that bear Tyson’s trademark-protected name and likeness, including use of the former fighter’s popular nickname, “Iron Mike.” As evidence, the legal filing lists seven shirts BHF had for sale on Amazon.com.
Furthermore, Tyson’s legal team alleges that BHF entered into agreements with other online vendors to sell Tyson-branded merchandise by purporting the swag was officially licensed. In fact, Tyson had never authorized such use of his name and trademarks, the suit states. The other online vendors include Macy’s, Urban Outfitters and American Classics Apparel.
Additionally, BHF is accused of engaging in negotiations with other vendors to use Tyson’s name, likeness and trademarks on products beyond apparel, including energy bars, energy drinks, health-related items, and gaming products.
“Defendant Lott directed and/or authorized the infringing use of Mr. Tyson’s marks by Defendant BHF,” the lawsuit states.
Tyson’s attorneys say that BHF persisted in its unauthorized use of their client’s name and likeness even after being warned to stop. “Defendants’ failure to comply with Mr. Tyson’s demand to cease and desist from their activities demonstrates that their continued infringement is willful and/or willfully blind and in bad faith,” the lawsuit says.
Tyson is asking the court to impose a range of penalties on BHF and Lott. The suit asks for an injunction on BHF’s selling of alleged offending merchandise, calls for monetary damages to be awarded to Tyson, asks that BHF merchandise be destroyed, and requests that BHF pay attorney fees, among other demands.