Lawsuit accuses team and league of illegally profiting from logo design without offering proper compensation to the author

William “Jim” Pons, a former employee of the New York Jets, a professional American football team based in New Jersey, has sued the team, the National Football League (NFL) and NFL Properties, accusing them of misusing a logo he claims to have created. The lawsuit was filed in Monday (1st July 2024).

Pons claims the design was used by the team from 1978 to 1997 without proper compensation and that his right of publicity was violated through a video on the Jets’ official website.

The former employee worked for the team in the 1970s as a film and video director. He emphasizes that the logo was his own creation, unrelated to his contractual obligations.

In 2022, Pons reports that the NFL, representing the Jets, submitted a trademark application for its design. The application covered a variety of apparel items, including caps, hats, and jerseys.

Pons says the application falsely claims the design was used commercially from 1970 onwards, which he argues is impossible since he created the logo 8 years later. Despite this, the Trademark Office registered the trademark.

Additionally, Pons accuses the Jets of recording an interview with him in Florida to discuss the logo without offering compensation for the use of his image or design. The interview was published on April 24, 2023, on the Jets’ website, without Pons’ authorization.

The NFL and Jets’ defense could argue that the former employee should have raised his objections decades ago and that statutes of limitations bar claims. They could also argue that Pons consented to the Jets owning his creations as part of his employment.


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