Bronx entrepreneur sues the Brooklyn Nets claiming trademark infringement

An entrepreneur from Bronx has filed a trademark dilution case against Brooklyn Nets claiming that he owns the trademark rights to the team’s name. Dr. Francois De Cassagnol, 66, claims that he gained rights for trademarking the name for his commercial art business almost ten years ago while living in Louisiana. In the suit filed by him in the Brooklyn Federal Court in December, he claimed that he wanted at least $600 million as damages. The art seller also alleges in his complaint that he spoke with the team officials about the matter and that they had promised him that they would not use the name “Brooklyn Nets” upon moving to their new home by Atlantic Avenue two years ago.

De Cassagnol claims in the complaint that Developer Bruce Ratner and Jay Z, who was the former minority owner “fraudulently conspired” with the NBA by fabricating legal “loopholes” in court to use the name. However, the name of Mikhail Prokhorov (Russian owner of the team) does not come up in the complaint.

As per legal experts De Cassagnol has a better chance of winning the case. However, Domenic Romano a lawyer acquainted with trademark law says that this litigation is ridiculous and the best that De Cassagnol could do if he has a valid Louisiana registration trademark, is keep the Nets out of Louisiana. Chief legal officer for the Brooklyn Nets, Jeff Gewirtz says that the lawsuit has no advantages and that they will vigorously defend themselves against any legal action.

This is not the first lawsuit brought by De Cassagnol against “Brooklyn Nets”. In 2012, he filed a complaint with the USPTO charging them that he was the real owner of the term, but this claim as well as a subsequent appeal was rejected by the court. Now it remains to be seen as to the outcome of this litigation.

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