Former San Diego Charger, Shawn Merriman earned his nickname, “Lights Out” while still in high school after knocking at least four opposing teams players unconscious. That of course was back when devastating hits were still the norm. Merriman even had a sack dance that went along with the nickname.
So of course he feels some type of way that Nike has developed a series of t-shirts bearing the “lights out” brand. Merriman owns the trademark to that phrase and has filed a federal lawsuit against Nike behind its use.
According to the suit, Merriman acquired the federal trademark rights for Lights Out in 2007. The suit also claims that Merriman once negotiated with Nike about starting a line bearing his nickname in 2006 or 2007, but nothing came to fruition.
“I earned my ‘Lights Out’ nickname in high school when I knocked out four opposing players in one football game,” Merriman said in a statement. “I made things official by securing the federal rights to my LIGHTS OUT trademark and have been using it ever since. I am suing Nike as a last resort, not only to protect my brand, but to protect other athletes who are trying to develop a brand after their professional career, like myself.”
I can’t imagine Nike’s lawyers not being aware of his trademark. Very interested to see how this plays out. It also is a nice set up for Shawn’s post NFL career as a WWE star. He already has a villain to play off of.