Shaq Attack! Shaq Sues for Infringement of Trademark
Shaquille O'Neal is ready to launch his Shaq attack at an online store for stealing one of his many nicknames. The Las Vegas Sun reports that a licensing company for the huge basketball player is suing on his behalf against the online store called "Shaqtus Orange Clothing Co" in U.S District Court in Las Vegas. Mr. O'Neal now plays for the Cavaliers, but he was known as "The Big Cactus" and as "The Big Shaqtus" when he was playing for the Phoenix Suns.
It is Mr. O'Neal's "The Big Shaqtus" nickname that is the crux of this lawsuit. The defendant operates a website that features a large cactus mascot who looks like Mr. O'Neal. The mascot also wears an orange jersey with the number 32 which was Mr. O'Neal's number when he played for the Suns. The lawsuit contends that the defendant sent a letter to ESPN offering to sell them the "Shaqtus" trademark. When ESPN countered that it received permission to use the "Shaq" trademark from his licensing company, it also asserted that the defendant was infringing on the basketball player's trademark.
When Mr. O'Neal's licensing company requested that the defendant stop using the trademark and transfer their two domains, the defendant refused. The lawsuit claims trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, violation of the basketball player's right of publicity, right of commercial use of his name, and cybersquatting.
While it seems hard to believe that anyone could possibly look like a cactus or even want to be known as the "Big Shaqtus," I have to say that if you look at the defendant's website, that cactus does look a lot like Shaq.