After 27 years, Nike and Tiger Woods have announced the end of their long-time partnership. The question remains: will Tiger Woods maintain ownership of his iconic TW logo?
MarketWatch spoke with Josh Gerben about ownership rights of the trademark.
Ownership of the TW trademark has not changed since it was first filed, signaling that Woods has been the sole owner for the duration of the trademark registration, intellectual-property attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben IP told MarketWatch.
Even though it’s possible that Nike could pursue litigation against Woods, Gerben doesn’t see that as a likely scenario and believes Woods will maintain control over the TW logo.
“I would not expect there to be a fight because it would be extraordinarily public and it would be a lot of bad press for Nike,” he said. “I would expect Nike to have to take a hit or a write-off. I think it would be a bad move by Nike even if they had a contractual ability to enforce something like that, because it would damage their ability to sign future athletes.”
“Very rarely does a company win in the court of public opinion over a person,” Gerben noted, while adding it’s likely there are “wind-down provisions” in Woods’s Nike contract that gives the company a grace period to sell remaining Woods-branded inventory in the event that the two parties split.
Source: Blasi, Weston. https://www.marketwatch.com. “Who owns the Tiger Woods ‘TW’ logo now that he’s left Nike?”. 10 January 2024.