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NBA Team Sued After Making Subtle Change to Uniforms - Report

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Early in the NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets paid homage to one of the most notable artists to ever emanate from the borough, the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.

With the help of Nike, which is the official apparel outfitter of the NBA, the Nets wore Biggie-inspired jerseys similar to the Coogi sweaters that he wore.

“Love them. Love the design,” Nets guard Caris LeVert said, according to ESPN. “Very Brooklyn-esque. I’m not a huge jersey guy in the first place, but those are dope.”

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While the tribute was well-received by both fans and players, it appears that not everyone was a fan of the jerseys, including Coogi itself.

The New York Times reported Thursday the fashion brand has filed a copyright violation lawsuit against the Nets, the NBA and Nike, which produced the jerseys.

The multi-colored striped pattern that goes down the sides of the jerseys was labeled “Brooklyn Camo” by the Nets, but Coogi says it has a design copyright for that pattern.

The lawsuit also says that one of the defendants purchased Google Ads for searches for “Coogi Brooklyn Nets” and “Brooklyn Coogi,” which would direct people to the Nets products instead of Coogi products.

Do you think this lawsuit by Coogi will hold up in court?

The Nets and Nike did not comment to The Times on the suit, but an NBA spokesman said, “There is no merit whatsoever to their claims.”

Coogi states in the suit that the defendants purposely tried to confuse customers in thinking that their products were connected to the Coogi brand.

“[The defendants] were well aware that Biggie neither wore nor rapped about anything called ‘Brooklyn Camo,” the lawsuit reads, according to the New York Post.

“But they created, marketed and sold and distributed ‘Brooklyn Camo’ products so as to confuse consumers about the connection between their goods … and Coogi.”

Despite the lawsuit, the Nets’ marketing efforts around Biggie have not slowed down one bit.

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The team held a Biggie Bobblehead Night on Friday and handed them out to the first 10,000 fans for the team’s game against the Hornets.

“He’s a legend from here,” Nets guard D’Angelo Russell said. “Hometown hero. His legacy that he left behind is still here to this day.”

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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