August 2017. What’s the ultimate in audacity? Using trademarks already owned by the notoriously aggressive and somewhat indelicate boxing legend Mike Tyson, that’s what. The US company Boxing Hall of Fame has done precisely that with its large-scale online sale of Tyson T-shirts. It’s something ‘Iron Mike’ clearly won’t stand for.
Luckily for BHF, Mr Tyson won’t be coming along to sort them out personally; he’s sent his lawyers over instead. On 8 August, a formal notification of objection registered with the District Court in Nevada fell onto Boxing Hall of Fame’s doormat. In it, Mike Tyson claims that BHF, which describes itself as ‘one of the world’s biggest suppliers of boxing memorabilia’, is infringing both his trademark and his portrait rights.
Mike Tyson and Iron Mike trademarks
Not only does the boxer own registered trademark rights to the name Mike Tyson, he also owns non-registered rights to his nickname Iron Mike. And as a world-famous sportsman, he’s also protected his portrait against commercial use.
Tyson energy drink?
BHF not only sells the shirts on Amazon directly but also supplies what it describes as ‘officially licensed’ Tyson-branded clothing to other online sellers, such as American Classics Apparel and Urban Outfitters. Tyson claims the company is also negotiating the sale of yet more Tyson-branded products, including energy drinks, snack bars and health products, with other market players. As well as demanding that BHF suspend sales forthwith, he also wants it to destroy all its Tyson-branded stock and compensate him for (as yet unspecified) damages.