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Nets jerseys spark lawsuit from fashion brand over Notorious B.I.G. connection

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 3/1/2019 Jason Owens
a man wearing a hat: The Notorious B.I.G. famously wore Coogi sweaters as seen here in a 1995 performance. © Provided by Oath Inc. The Notorious B.I.G. famously wore Coogi sweaters as seen here in a 1995 performance.

The NBA’s attempt to be fashion forward has landed it in legal peril over an alternative jersey design worn by the Brooklyn Nets.

The New York Times reports that clothing brand Coogi is suing the NBA, the Nets and Nike for copyright infringement over the team’s “City Edition” jerseys that feature colorful accents dubbed as “Brooklyn Camo” in marketing materials.

Fashion dispute over Biggie Smalls connection

The Times notes that the team acknowledges the color pattern was inspired by iconic Brooklyn rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie, who was murdered in 1997.

Biggie was known to wear Coogi sweaters and rapped about them on multiple occasions. Coogi sweaters feature elaborate colorful designs that the the company sees as being infringed upon by the alternative Nets jerseys.

a man standing in front of a crowd: Coogi claims that the colorful accents on Nets jerseys constitute copyright infringement. (Getty) © Provided by Oath Inc. Coogi claims that the colorful accents on Nets jerseys constitute copyright infringement. (Getty)

Never rapped about Brooklyn Camo

Basically, the company is arguing that as Nike, the Nets and the NBA call the jersey an ode to Biggie, it’s really an ode to their design without permission or compensation.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday. It states that Biggie never rapped about “Brooklyn Camo” and claims that defendants purchased “Coogi Brooklyn Nets” and “Brooklyn Coogi” advertising on Google to direct people searching for their brand to Nike products, the Times reports.

An NBA spokesman told the Times “there is no merit whatsoever to their claims,” while Nike and the Nets declined comment.

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