SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is suing athletic equipment giant Nike in San Diego federal court, alleging unfair competition and trademark infringement of his "Lights Out" brand.
The suit, filed by Merriman's company, Lights Out Holdings, LLC, demands immediate injunctive relief to stop Nike's alleged actions, plus millions of dollars in damages.
Merriman said he holds the federal trademark for the "Lights Out" brand on a Nike clothing line, which includes a broad range of apparel for men, women and children.
"I earned my `Lights Out' nickname in high school when I knocked out four opposing players in one football game," Merriman said. "I made things official by securing the federal rights to my `Lights Out' trademark and have been using it ever since. I am suing Nike as a last resort, not only to protect my brand, but to protect other athletes who are trying to develop a brand."
A spokeswoman for Oregon-based Nike said the company does not comment on litigation.
In late 2006 or 2007, according to the lawsuit, Nike entered into negotiations with Merriman for a "Lights Out" line of apparel. Negotiations between Merriman and Nike were unsuccessful but "after these discussions Nike decided to use the `Lights Out' clothing brand anyway," the suit alleges.