Generally, in the hotseat on numerous occasions.

Generally, entrepreneurs like to
find themselves at the center of attention. However, that sense of public
awareness isn’t always favorable. Recently, american businessman and owner of
Big Baller Brand, LaVar Ball has fought his way into the limelight by encouraging
a series of outrageous claims regarding his three sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and
LaMelo; and their skills on the basketball court. Since his uprising to fame in
early 2017 LaVar Ball has found himself in the hotseat on numerous occasions.
He is known for being boisterous, confident and even obnoxious, but could LaVar
Ball be a criminal as well?

Owning a clothing and shoe brand can
certainly be a stressful when you have a large base of consumers, which is what
Ball’s situation was. In that type of scenario, you have got to be ready to
pump out lots of fresh ideas with a considerable amount of great graphics to
keep your consumers coming back for more. Earlier this year, Big Baller Brand
made an announcement of a November release of its first shoe, and later made
another announcement for it’s second shoe. Made to be Lonzo’s and LaMelo’s
signature sneakers.. Unfortunately, after the release of the first images of
each shoe, numerous individuals claimed the logos in each shoe, to be
derivative works of preexisting images already in use.

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Lonzo Ball’s signature sneaker, the
ZO2 features a basic gold and silver Z (with a slight curve) located on the
heel. Several players of the Ohio State Buckeye football team, as well as coach
Zach Smith, have accused LaVar Ball of stealing the logo used for their
offensive nickname the “Zone 6” which can be seen being used on receiver’s
gloves and on a few of the player’s helmets. Usually, a college will have their
team name and mascot trademarked for promotional reasons, but the name Zone 6
is still fairly new and it is highly probable that The Ohio State University
did not undergo the process to have the name put under copyright protection. If
this is the case, the logo can very well be classified as part of the public
domain at the time the ZO2 were put into production. This would give LaVar Ball
fair use of the curved l from any accusations of infringement on Ohio State’s

Things got a little more interesting
when the first images of LaMelo’s signature pair of Melo Ball 1’s were
released. Turns out, there was infact a very similar logo found. Hana Engel of
Ottowa Canada has come forward and accused LaVar Ball of using her company’s
logo for his son’s signature shoe. Engel is the owner of a Modern Body and was
more than surprised when she saw her logo being used on Ball’s shoe. Engel has
stated that her lawyer has contacted Ball and explained that use of her logo
will be an act of copyright infringement.

Being that Ball is a millionaire, he
may have not be too worried at the time, but copyright infringement is a
serious crime. Serious infringements can even result in 5 year of prison. Being
that each shoe is priced over $350, and hundreds of pairs have already been
purchased, Ball would indeed profit from these logos, which in turn would make
it a serious offense. However, there are a few things that could severely
complicate the MB1 case. One possibility is that LaVar may have hired an
outside designer. This would mean the blame of the logo being used falls
primarily on the outside source. Also, Engel’s trademark is still pending
approval in the United States, which can eventually be denied and will will
give Ball fair use of the design.