May 13, 2020

NBA's Antetokounmpo Sues To Block 'Greek Freak' Merch | Featured in Law360

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, known as the "Greek Freak," filed trademark suits on Tuesday against the owner of two online sites and an apparel seller on Amazon hawking T-shirts with his nickname, the latest in a barrage of such claims this month by the 2019 NBA MVP.

Online apparel sites snapbacksports.store and shop.whistlesports.com are selling T-shirts with Antetokounmpo's likeness in a stylized form reminiscent of classic NBA video games and identified as "Greek Freak," the athlete alleged in a suit filed in New York federal court Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo also targeted a company called Good Day Apparel LLC that is allegedly selling T-shirts with "GREEK FR34K," an alternate spelling featuring his jersey number, in bold font on Amazon.

The Bucks star said there is "no question" that they are selling the products "with the purpose of confusing and misleading consumers into believing that they are purchasing products associated with or endorsed by" him and infringe his registered trademarks.

Antetokounmpo, who was born and raised in Greece, has become widely known as the "Greek Freak," a play on his heritage and exceptional combination of height, speed and ball skills. In 2018, he successfully registered a trademark of the nickname for apparel and backpacks and has another application pending for "Greek Fr34k."

Now one of the NBA's best players, Antetokounmpo has become increasingly protective of the use of his nickname, particularly in recent weeks.

In Tuesday's suits, he said the T-shirt sellers did not cooperate after being sent cease-and-desist letters earlier this year. He alleged trademark infringement and trademark dilution claims in addition to other related common law and tort claims and a claim for violation of his right of publicity.

Antetokounmpo has filed at least four other trademark lawsuits this month in New York federal in an effort to stop the sale of apparel with either or both his likeness or his "Greek Freak" nickname.

The complaints allege he has sold tens of thousands of dollars of products with "Greek Freak" and "has expended substantial time, money and resources successfully developing, promoting and advertising" the nickname.

This month, he also settled a lawsuit filed in February, according to court records, against a company for selling mobile phone cases with an illustration of him dunking a basketball while wearing what looks like his Bucks uniform with the number 34.

Last year, Antetokounmpo settled another suit accusing a Pennsylvania artist of selling a "Greek Freak" collection of T-shirts.

Representatives for the T-shirt merchants targeted Tuesday did not respond to requests for comment.

Antetokounmpo is represented by Taso Pardalis of Pardalis & Nohavicka LLP.

The cases are Antetokounmpo v. Settleman et al., case number 1:20-cv-03670, and Antetokounmpo v. Jones et al., case number 1:20-cv-03669, both in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The other recent cases are Antetokounmpo v. SportsMarketUSA Corp. et al., case number 1:20-cv-03615, Antetokounmpo v. Dimoulis, case number 1:20-cv-03575, Antetokounmpo v. Dickson, case number 1:20-cv-03572, and Antetokounmpo v. Hill et al., case number 1:20-cv-03530, all in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

--Additional reporting by Ryan Boysen and Bill Donahue. Editing by Jay Jackson Jr.

By Zachary Zagger


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