Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging the online retailer allowed for the sale of unlicensed items using his likeness. The initial complaint was filed on Wednesday and will be heard before Judge Roy K. Altman in the Southern District Court of Florida.
Jackson, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the NFL this past season, claims that Amazon is “blatantly exploiting Jackson’s fame for their own commercial gain, intending to confuse and deceive the public by creating a false … connection to Jackson to sell their goods.” The merchandise in question uses his famous uniform number 8 as well as “names and slogans the public readily associates with Jackson including: ‘Lamarvelous,’ ‘Action Jackson’ and ‘Not Bad for a Running Back.’” Jackson owns and operates his own clothing company Era 8 Apparel, which sells similar items and is now forced to compete with the online retailing giant.
Amazon has faced criticism and litigation in the past for the way counterfeit goods are handled on the site. However, since the website operates in large part through third-party sellers, Amazon is not actually selling anything illegal and therefore is able to escape blame, which the lawsuit claims is “deceptive and misleading advertising”.
In this case, however, Jackson alleges Amazon took part in the selling of unlicensed goods stating “the infringing items, are not merely third party sales that are facilitated by Amazon in the Amazon Marketplace, rather the sales at issue are infringing items of clothing which Defendants themselves falsely promote and advertise and expressly designate as ‘ships from and sold by Amazon.com.’”
Jackson claims he had repeatedly asked for Amazon to stop promoting or selling the infringing items from their website which they refused to do. Jackson states the “defendants have acted willfully maliciously and oppressively, and with the full knowledge of their adverse effect on the Plaintiff.”
Jackson has asked that Amazon count all sales made from these infringing items and that the court issue an injunction to Amazon to prevent any further sales. Jackson is also seeking punitive damages for the harm inflicted on him and his company.