Kevin Durant Sued Over 'Durantula' Trademark Despite Not Using It

from the best-nickname-ever dept

As the great expanse of permission culture marches on, a growing trend is professional athletes getting in on the game. Recall that Tim Tebow recently took a break from being a crappy quarterback to trademark the phrase (not the action) known as “Tebowing”. In addition to that story, we covered NBA rookie Anthony Davis' attempt to embrace the fact that he's clearly a werewolf by trademarking a bunch of unibrow-related phrases. Finally, perhaps most apropros of the topic at hand, remember that Jeremy Lin filed for a trademark on the term “Linsanity“, despite his not having come up with the term.

Now, let's get the unimportant stuff out of the way first. Tebowing is more funny as a meme than Tebow is effective as a quarterback, unibrows are just distracting, and Linsanity is a garbage nickname. That last one is especially true when compared to one of the great nicknames in all of professional sports, so given to Oklahoma City's NBA star Kevin Durant: Durantula.

Tarantula Eyes - Ojos de Tarantula
Pictured: basketball player
Image source: CC BY 2.0

It turns out that this holy grail of nicknames is apparently worth suing over, at least in the eyes of a musician. Apparently Mark Durante, a man that the TMZ link describes as a “1980s musician” (meaning he made his bones before Kevin Durant could tie his own shoes), claims he had trademarked the term “Durantula” long ago and has been using it to sell mechandise for years. As such, he is taking Durant, along with Durant's private company, Nike, and Panini America Inc. (ostensibly so that the trial will be catered with delicious sandwiches), to court over the mark.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with Durante's lawsuit, not the least of which is that Durant's legal team previously furnished a letter stating that Durant had never authorized the term “Durantula,” hadn't used the term to sell merchandise, and hadn't even come up with the nickname to begin with — and had no intention of ever using the name. In other words, it was just something that others called him, and he had nothing to do with it. Undeterred by this information, Durante's team proceeded anyway with this filing, naming the afore-mentioned defendants, which include Durant and his company. In that filing, Durante's lawyers bravely lay out their case against Durant, showing in clear terms that Durant…well…never sold any merchandise using the name Durantula. Nor did his company. All the filing manages to demonstrate is that the term was used in marketing campaigns by Nike and Panini America Inc. to sell shoes and memorabilia signed by Durant, which is expounded upon by Durant's response filing, which also is asking Durante to pay for Durant's legal fees, seeing as how he never should have been involved in the suit to begin with.

As for the case against Nike and Panini America, well, that one is rock-damned-solid, assuming you believe anyone on the planet has been hit over the head enough times with a massive rock as to be unable to discern between a guitarist and the six-foot-nine-inch spider-monster dragging his shorts over most of the NBA's faces as he dunks on them. Simply as a point of reference, it may help to see how likely it would be for Mark Durante to be mistaken for a six-foot-nine-inch spider-monster capable of dunking on most of the NBA.

Pictured: not remotely a basketball player
Image source: CC BY 2.0

The only way this suit made sense to begin with was if Durante was trying to Streisand-vault his way back into national relevancy, but if the court sides with the defendants on the issue of legal fees (assuming it finds the suit to be without merit, as I'd expect), even that plan will have backfired.

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