NBA Star Luka Doncic Is in a Trademark Battle—with His Mom Who owns the rights to the Maverick's name?

By Jonathan Small

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Dallas Mavericks basketball star Luka Dončić has gone up against the best in the game, but his most recent opponent may be his most formidable: His own mother, Mirjam Poterbin.

Last week, Dončić filed a "Petition to Cancel" against a trademark of his name that is currently owned by his mom. Dončić is a three-time all-star guard and 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year. According to court documents, he wants Poterbin to transfer ownership of "LUKA DONCIC 7" back to him.

How did she get ownership of his trademark in the first place?

Growing up as a basketball prodigy in Slovenia, Dončić has played the game at an elite level since he was only 16. At that time, according to court filings, "he relied on his mother...to provide assistance and guidance for his off-court business opportunities." This assistance included filing various applications for his trademark.

Now age 23, Dončić, who recently signed a $215 million deal with the Mavs, wants full rights to all of his trademarks.

"I have a lot to look forward to as I continue to grow as a player and a person, and it's important to me to control my own brand and focus on giving back to my communities," Dončić said in a statement to The Stein Line.

In a Match Up with His Mother

Poterbin, 46, is a former model with over 55,000 followers on Instagram. She has publicly praised her son, calling him "my favorite player, "my pride," But now she has refused to hand back the rights to her son's name.

That decision has caused Dončić to take legal action, claiming that he revoked her rights to his name in 2021 and that she "abandoned" any right to it because she is not selling any goods related to the trademark.

"This is the better legal claim because US trademark law requires 'actual commercial use' of a trademark to maintain any trademark registration," Tweeted U.S. Trademark attorney Scott Gerben.

"I ultimately expect Luka to prevail in this matter."

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

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