4 March 2019Copyright

Coogi sues Nike and NBA over Notorious B.I.G. jerseys

The “City Edition” jerseys of basketball team Brooklyn Nets are at the centre of a controversy between Coogi, a fashion brand known for its colourful knitwear, and  Nike, the Brooklyn Nets, and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Australia-founded brand  Coogi filed the trademark suit on Wednesday, February 27 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, accusing the defendants of copying its copyright-protected patterns ‘Pea Soup’ and ‘Ricotta’.

The Nets’ jerseys, which  pay tribute to the Notorious B.I.G., feature a multi-colour ‘Brooklyn Camo’ pattern inspired by the iconic rapper.

But, Coogi has claimed that the Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls) was a fan of its sweaters, even name-dropping the brand in some of his songs, including “Hypnotize”.

In its claim, Coogi said that the defendants “were well aware that Biggie neither wore nor rapped about anything called 'Brooklyn Camo’ but they created, marketed and sold and distributed ‘Brooklyn Camo’ so as to confuse consumers”.

Coogi also accused the defendants of infringing trade dress, which Coogi claimed has been described as “confetti coloured” and “eye blinding designs”, and infringement of the ‘Coogi’ trademark.

Sports brand Nike was allegedly aware of Coogi’s copyrights and trade dress, given a negotiated but unfinalised proposed collaboration with the sweater brand in 2016.

“[The defendants,] knowing that Coogi was well known for its connection with Biggie … caused the creation of the ‘Brooklyn Camo’ pattern to be used as part of their Biggie events and promotions so as to confuse consumers,” alleged the claim.

Coogi also accused one of the defendants of purchasing AdWords or keywords including “Coogi Brooklyn Nets”, “Coogi NBA jersey” and “Brooklyn Coogi”.

Attached to the claim are letters exchanged between Coogi’s and the NBA’s lawyers, confirming that this case has been brewing since the jersey’s launch in November last year.

Now, Coogi is seeking an injunction to stop the sale of the jerseys, destruction of the reportedly infringing goods, and damages.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said: “There is no merit whatsoever to their claims.”

Between 2006 and 2011, sales of Coogi sweaters amounted to between $5 and $6 million per year. Total sales of all Coogi merchandise during this time ranged between $40 and $80 million, according to the brand.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories:

Facebook accuses Chinese companies of TM infringement

EPO board seeks computer-implemented invention certainty

Bosch and Honeywell sued over wireless motion sensors

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

20 March 2019   A company representing the estate of late rapper the Notorious B.I.G, is suing a snowboard company for trademark infringement and unauthorised use of image rights after it allegedly used his likeness without permission.