Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks open up their season tonight vs. the Phoenix Suns, the team they embarrassed in last year’s Western Conference second round. But another story of a more personal nature surrounding the Mavericks guard has just popped up.
In today’s social media landscape, trademarks are one of the things that help you stand out in the sometimes oversaturated media market. In addition, the need to trademark your name or image can mean extra yearly revenue in the millions regarding superstar players. That is how Doncic and his mother, Mirjam Poterbin, come into this story.
The superstar guard of the Dallas Mavericks joined Real Madrid at the age of 13 and made his pro debut at 16. Doncic has acknowledged that his mother had his permission in 2018 to patent a “Luka Doncic 7” logo after Doncic signed a 207 million- dollar extension in the Summer of 2021 and set up Luka99 inc.
The problem for Doncic is he now can not file any trademarks using his own name. You heard that correctly. Luka Doncic can not trademark his name because of the previously mentioned trademark filed by his mother. Doncic attempted to file three trademarks last summer and was denied by the examiner because they would cause consumer confusion with the “Luka Doncic 7” mark.
Doncic filed a petition stating that Potermin (his own mother!) is not currently using the trademark in the United States. The petition also cites Lanham act section 2(a), which in plain terms, means Doncic claims he has no association with his mother’s trademark, and Section 2(c) bans referencing a living person without consent. But, of course, it goes even deeper than the legal part of this story.
This story’s questionable part is that Doncic’s mother was in control of his career when he turned 13 and continued control through his pro career with Real Madrid. So, even when permission was granted after Doncic turned legal age, shouldn’t her authority over his career before he turned 18 factor in the cancellation?
The ruling, in this case, could have widespread consideration of the new rule allowing college players to benefit from their likeness and could impact other trademark cases. Experts are not in agreement on how this case will ultimately play out, but it will affect how Luka Doncic can market his brand going forward and that’s a big deal for the young star.
We just hope the Doncic family can have a nice Thanksgiving meal (or the Slovenian equivalent) without this being an issue between mother and son. That would be sad.