Even if you don't root for the Cleveland Cavaliers, every basketball fan knows about the force that is Lebron James. But you might not know that he's also a very successful businessman and is shooting for billionaire status, with a current net worth of around $400 million. However, some of that wealth may be in jeopardy as James and his multimedia platform Uninterrupted are being sued for allegedly stealing a Michigan man's idea for a barbershop show.
Similar Barbershop Shows
According to the complaint, Sebastian Jackson, founder of Adventure Enterprises, came up with an idea for an online show set in a barbershop that serves as a "forum for local and national personalities -- including musicians, business owners, and athletes -- to talk about their stories while getting a haircut." His idea was called "Shop Talk," and Jackson says he pitched the idea to Uninterrupted executives from 2014 through 2016, although he eventually launched his show without any connection to Uninterrupted.
Jackson claims that Uninterrupted stole his idea and launched their own show, "The Shop" in December of 2016. "The Shop" also takes place in a barbershop and features James "engaging in an intimate conversation describing cultural experiences with his contemporaries" while getting his haircut.
Trademark Infringement and Other Accusations
Adventure Enterprises is suing James, claiming the basketball star's show is likely to cause "confusion or misunderstanding" because of the similarities. Adventure Enterprises is asking for an injunction to prevent James and Uninterrupted from using the "confusingly similar" mark. In total, Adventure Enterprises is suing James, Uninterrupted, and two other people for trademark infringement, service-mark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, conversion, and conspiracy.
You probably won't go up against Lebron James, whether it's on the court or in a court. However, if you do think someone stole and profited from your idea, or you're being accused of infringing on someone else's idea, contact an attorney to discuss your options and protect your rights.