NBA Star Secured Settlement for ‘Greek Freak’ Trademark Lawsuit

Law360 (August 19, 2019, 4:37 PM EDT) — NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo has reached a settlement to end a trademark lawsuit he filed last month in New York federal court over a line of unauthorized merchandise featuring his “Greek Freak” nickname.

A federal judge ordered the case dismissed on Friday, saying she had been “informed that the parties have reached a settlement in this case.” No details of the settlement were publicly disclosed, and attorneys for both sides did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA MVP, sued in early July, accusing Pennsylvania artist Jinder Bhogal of selling a “Greek Freak” collection of T-shirts bearing the superstar’s image.

“There is no question that the products sold by defendant under the ‘Greek Freak’ mark were sold by defendant with the purpose of confusing and misleading consumers into believing that they are purchasing products associated with or endorsed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the most successful and popular NBA players,” the lawsuit said.

As his star has risen in recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks power forward has gotten more protective over his nickname — a riff on his Greek nationality and his unusual combination of height, speed and dexterity.

Last year, Antetokounmpo succeeded in registering the name as a trademark for apparel and backpacks, and he has another application pending for “Greek Fr34k,” an alternate spelling featuring his playing number.

Earlier in August, about a month after he sued Bhogal, Antetokounmpo filed another infringement lawsuit against a company called Viral Style LLC, a website that allows users to create and sell custom apparel.

That case remains pending.

Antetokounmpo isn’t alone in claiming trademark rights to his nickname. Kobe Bryant owns a trademark registration on “Black Mamba,” and LeBron James closely guards rival uses of his “King James.”

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

Bhogal is represented by Marc Joseph Rachman of Davis & Gilbert LLP.

The case is Antetokounmpo v. Bhogal, case number 1:19-cv-06304, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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