Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Allan Houston Rule" Lawsuit

Here's a fun entertainment law issue with some NY flavor:

RealGM.com -- Houston Sues NBA For Rights To “Allan Houston Rule” Catchphrase

As part of the new CBA agreement between the NBA and the Players Union, a new amnesty rule was put in place allowing each team to release one player from their roster without being penalized cap-wise. The rule was quickly dubbed “The Allan Houston Rule” referring to the oft-injured Knicks shooting guard who is currently draining the Knicks salary coffers at an alarming “max contract” rate.

One of the biggest surprises in the NBA is that the “Allan Houston Rule” was never used on Allan Houston; rather the Knicks instead chose to apply the rule to forward Jerome Williams. Despite the fact that the new rule was never applied to him, Allan Houston is currently in court taking on NBA officials in an attempt to land exclusive trademark rights to the term “Allan Houston Rule.”

Houston contends that since it is his name in the phrase, he should have all subsidiary and marketing rights to the catchphrase. He also wants a share of the profits to the wildly popular t-shirt worn by some NBA players that reads, “I survived the Allan Houston Rule and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” or the other best-seller, “The Allan Houston Rule Rules!”

In a statement taken from Mr. Houston’s lawyer, Allan Dershowitz, Houston expresses his intent on claiming the rights to this term.
Apparently the NBA has been making serious bank selling t-shirts with this on it. Should Allan Houston receive money made due to use of the phrase? The claim is likely one of a misappropriation of identity -- i.e. using Houston's name to promote goods that he hasn't actually endorsed (or has he, as a player in the NBA?). Anyway, with big dog Allan Dershowitz as his attorney, Houston will certainly get whatever he's entitled to.


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