Las Vegas law firm sues NFL, Raiders
The suit stems from a Super Bowl ad that featured Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, Golden Knights forward William Karlsson and UFC heavyweight Jon Jones.
Updated March 2, 2023 - 6:14 pm
A Las Vegas law firm is suing the NFL and the Raiders, claiming that the firm did not infringe on their trademarks in a commercial that aired in the Las Vegas market during the Super Bowl.
The Dimopoulos Law Firm, a personal injury legal group run by lawyer Steve Dimopoulos, sued in federal court in Las Vegas, after receiving a cease and desist letter from the NFL and Raiders telling it to stop using the Raiders’ licensed trademarks, according to the complaint filed by the Randazza Legal Group.
Dimopoulos’ firm asks that the court rule that it has “not infringed upon any purported trademark or trade dress rights” of the NFL or the Raiders.
The firm contends that it was careful not to feature the league or team logos when the Feb. 12 commercial showed Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby putting on a uniform with “Crosby” and his team number 98 on the back of a jersey.
While Crosby did don a “generic” uniform with black and silver colors, which are the Raiders’ team colors, Dimopoulos said in the suit that his law firm selected the same colors for its own color scheme back in 2012, more than four years before the Raiders announced their move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
The type of football uniform Crosby wore in the ad, with the player’s name and number, the suit said, “features common on nearly each and every football jersey worn in the United States regardless of whether the team is professional, collegiate, or recreational.”
Crosby signed a contract with Dimopoulos stating that “Crosby will wear Dimopoulos Law Firm colors (black/white/silver),” the law firm said. “Talent’s jersey will include ‘CROSBY’ nameplate and number 98. No NFL, Raiders, or equipment manufacturer logos will be depicted in the Commercial.”
Also, the firm said, “Crosby warranted the agreement with Dimopoulos did not conflict with or violate agreements with the Raiders or the NFL and that Crosby had the authority to enter into the agreement with Dimopoulos.”
The firm’s Super Bowl advertisement also shows Golden Knights forward William Karlsson and UFC heavyweight Jon Jones preparing for their sports, with Steve Dimopoulos getting ready to go to a courthouse.
Dimopoulos, which is demanding a jury trial, said that the commercial also did not include the logos of the Golden Knights, NHL or the UFC.
“It merely showed the athletes in the commercial getting ready to compete in their respective sports,” according to the suit. “The only logo shown during the advertisement is the Dimopoulos firm’s logo, which is displayed on the uniforms worn in the advertisement.”
When the advertisement was uploaded to YouTube on Feb. 12, it included a disclaimer saying it was “not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by or in anyway connected with the NFL,” the suit said.
The Raiders and NFL properties sent the cease and desist letter to the Dimopoulos firm on Feb. 23, in which they threatened to file a suit against the Nevada business, said that the firm faced “heightened legal penalties” and demanded a response by Wednesday, the suit alleges.
The law firm started using black and silver colors in its promotions since its inception in 2012 and in addition to the Raiders, other sports teams have used the same colors, including the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA and the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball, the suit said.
Dimopoulos also sponsored an A league hockey team with the colors before the Raiders revealed the move to Las Vegas, the plaintiff said.
The letter sent by the Raiders and NFL Properties also accused the Dimopoulos group of using hashtags on social media “that include various NFL marks, including RAIDERS and RAIDERS NATION, to promote its services,” the suit said.
While the law firm “does not concede” including the hashtags in tweets, it “did not use the hashtags in a manner that suggests a connection with the trademark or the trademark owner.”
The firm requests that the court prohibit the defendants from interfering with its use of the black and silver colors in advertising and its use of hashtags with the “‘Raiders’ name in association with its advertising so long as Plaintiff does not use the name as a source identifier.”
The NFL and the Raiders did not respond requests for comment.
Contact Jeff Burbank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.