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Luka Doncic In Trademark Conflict With Mom

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Luka Doncic warms up in Jordan Brand gear for Slovenia's EuroBasket game vs. Germany on Sept. 6, 2022, in Cologne, Germany. | Image by FIBA

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Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic on Tuesday filed a petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seeking to cancel the registration of the trademark “LUKA DONCIC 7” that his mother, Mirjam Poterbin, currently owns, according to the legal firm Brown Rudnick that represents Doncic.

“I have a lot to look forward to as I continue to grow as a player and a person and it’s important to me to control my own brand and focus on giving back to my communities,” Doncic revealed in a statement to Substack’s Marc Stein, who was first to report the filing.

Doncic consented to Poterbin to register “LUKA DONCIC 7″ in November of his rookie season with the Mavericks in 2018-19 when he was 19. Poterbin, at the time, provided “assistance and guidance for his off-court business opportunities,” according to the petition.

The trademark was officially registered in January 2020, according to USPTO records. 

Tuesday’s filing is the latest step in the months-long quest by Doncic to regain control of the trademark that bears his name. 

Doncic incorporated his mother’s trademark into a logo he used early in his NBA career — an “L” as an upside-down seven and another seven underneath the “D” to incorporate his jersey number. 

However, Doncic issued a written notice in July 2021 that he wished to revoke his mother’s trademark because he wanted to consolidate his brand without her involvement.

Then, shortly before the start of the 2021-22 season and after he signed a $207 million contract extension with the Mavericks, Doncic unveiled a new logo to appear on all of his Jordan Brand shoes and clothing. It incorporates his initials (LD), his uniform number (77), and an S representing his home country of Slovenia. 

The filing asserts that Doncic is not affiliated with the companies that currently own and market the LD77 brand or operate the website lukadoncic.com. Those companies are presently co-managed by Doncic’s mother and director Boris Požeg, according to Slovenian public records.

Additionally, Doncic’s Dallas-based charity, the Luka Doncic Foundation, established in 2021, has no affiliation with a Slovenia-based foundation that uses the same name.  

Doncic disapproves of the suggestion that the brand, website, and charitable foundation, are associated with him, the petition states. 

Doncic’s company, Luka99 Inc., has twice applied for trademark registration to “LUKA DONCIC.” The USPTO has not approved the applications because of the existing “LUKA DONCIC 7″ trademark that Poterbin has refused to relinquish despite multiple attempts at private negotiations and more than a year after Doncic’s first formal request.

Doncic and his legal representatives tried to prevent the pursuit of his trademarks from going public until Tuesday’s filing, which was required by a USPTO deadline, according to Stein.

Doncic told Stein that he regards challenging the trademark as a last resort to gain complete control over his name, brand, charitable foundation, and business affairs since conflicting trademarks prevent him from holding clear rights to use his own name.

Despite the legal conflict, it clearly has not distracted Doncic as he is delivering phenomenal performances for his country at the EuroBasket tournament. Doncic scored 36 points and had ten rebounds in Slovenia’s win over Germany on Tuesday, the same day the petition was filed.

On Wednesday, Doncic scored 47 points, the second-most ever in a single EuroBasket game, to help Slovenia beat France and clinch the top spot in Group B.

“I’ve known Luka and his family for a very long time,” said former NBA center Rasho Nesterović, the highest-ranking official in the Slovenian Basketball Federation as secretary general. “As Luka continues to grow into a smart young businessman, he is simply making sure he has full control of his brand. But his focus here is 100 percent on this EuroBasket. He is a true competitor and his top priority is leading his national team.”

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