Early in his career, Luka Dončić entrusted his mother to own several trademark registrations around his name. Now, she refuses to transfer the ownership back to him.
This isn’t quite Britney Spears-level family drama, but it’s bordering on similar territory.
Dallas Mavericks’ guard and three-time All-Star Luka Dončić is in the midst of an unprecedented trademark battle with his own mother, Mirjam Poterbin.
Multimedia company Luka77, Inc., which promotes Dončić’s name, image, and likeness, petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trial and Appeal Board to cancel LUKA DONCIC 7. Poterbin has owned the mark since 2018 when Dončić first entered the league at 19 years old. The USPTO awarded it to her two years later since she registered for it earlier with the European Union.
Per court filings, Luka Doncic relied on his Mom for business opportunities early in his career.— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) September 12, 2022
This led to him signing “consent” to allow his Mom to own several US trademark registrations around his name, including one for “LUKA DONCIC 7.”
At the time, Dončić signed full consent for his mother to take care of his business-related ventures, including trademark registrations. What else was he going to do? He was a young phenom who signed a five-year deal with Real Madrid at 13 years old.
But he’s not a kid anymore.
He tried opening his own company “LUKA DONCIC 99,” but that was denied because Poterbin still owned the right to his name. This would’ve been the opportune time for Poterbin to authorize ownership of the trademarked name and transfer it over to her son.
But that wasn’t the case — and now Luka might have only one option: sue his own mom.
Normally, this is when Luka’s Mom should have willingly transferred the ownership of Luka’s trademark to his company.— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) September 12, 2022
It appears that she refused to transfer the rights, leaving Luka with only one option: to commence legal proceedings against his Mom.
Trademark law expert Alexandra Roberts told Sportico she believes the law might be in Poterbin’s favor, saying “All that the Lanham Act and the TMEP seem to require is consent at the time of registration, so it’s very possible that the Board will not find sufficient basis to cancel.”
And should she win, Roberts further explains that it could impact the college NIL landscape if a company seeks a collegiate player’s consent to register marks that reference them. Poterbin has until Oct. 17 to answer the petition.
Safe to say, the next family arrangement will be awkward… and maybe in court.