The “Brotherhood” has borne some legal action as Dallas-based Drinnon Law Firm has filed a federal trademark and copyright lawsuit against Adidas and the NBA Store for “misappropriating” the tagline “We Not Me” in the multi-faceted “Basketball is Brotherhood” campaign.
Developed by 180 LA, the campaign featured NBA stars like Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard mentoring kids on the idea of teamwork through a series of documentary-style spots and a web component. “We Not Me” eventually made it onto NBA-sanctioned Adidas attire.
According to the suit, Naperville, IL-based businessman W. Brand Bobosky registered his ownership of the “We Not Me” copyright and trademark nearly 10 years before Adidas initiated its advertising campaign in 2007. Bobosky only authorized limited use of the slogan for “community-development activities”, going so far as to incorporate We Not Me, Ltd. through the state of Illinois and create the site www.WeNotMe.us in 2004.
In a statement, Stephen Drinnon of the law firm explains,
“Companies like Adidas go to great lengths to protect their own ingenuity and intellectual property, yet they’ve chosen to trample on Mr. Bobosky’s protected property rights. Adidas is a powerful second-comer that has taken everything he tried to build. Mr. Bobosky’s words are now wrongly perceived as something that Adidas owns.”
180 LA is not included in the lawsuit. However, Adidas America, NBA Properties Inc., NBA Services Inc., the Boston Celtics, and Garnett are listed as defendants. We left a message with 180 for any comment on the matter, but have yet to hear back.