Nike successfully obtained a temporary restraining order barring Reebok from selling apparel with Tim Tebow’s name on it, following the Jets’ acquisition of Tebow in March. Nike is set to replace Reebok, a subsidiary of Adidas AG, as the official supplier of NFL uniforms on April 1. Reebok was the NFL’s supplier of on-field apparel, including game uniforms, and sideline apparel for the past decade, according to ESPN. Nike will be supplying that apparel exclusively for all thirty-two NFL teams for the next five years. Prior to March 1, 2012, Reebok has printed and sold Broncos jerseys with Tebow’s name and number, per Reebok’s contract with the NFL. However, Nike contends that at this time, Nike, to Reebok’s exclusion, possesses the license required to manufacture and sell jerseys related to Tebow after his move from the Broncos. Nike contends that Reebok was shipping large volumes of Tebow-related products to capitalize on his recent move to the Jets, harming Nike’s ability to capitalize on a “unique and short-lived opportunity,” according to Nike’s lawsuit and ESPN.
Federal District Judge Castel of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan agreed with Nike, ordering Reebok to stop producing and selling any Tim Tebow-related products that were manufactured after March 1, 2010, and all Tebow-related products that relate to any other team than the Broncos. However, in the published court order, Judge Castel stopped short of requiring that Reebok “destroy all unauthorized Tebow products that are now in, or hereafter come into, Reebok’s custody, possession, or control.” A preliminary injunction hearing will take place on April 4, 2012.