Tebow lawyers target T-shirt makers

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 19, 2012
Lawyers representing Tim Tebow have sent a cease and desist letter to a T-shirt manufacturer they say is illegally using the name of the New York Jets quarterback to sell products. CubbyTees.com created a green shirt that says ''My Jesus'' in a design that resembles the Jets' logo. Tebow's attorneys threatened to pursue legal action against the company for ''using the name of Mr. Tebow'' on its site ''to promote, advertise and sell numerous T-shirts.'' The cease and desist letter was first reported by TMZ.com. In an email to The Associated Press, Kevin Doolan of CubbyTees.com said his company was surprised by the legal threats, and it informed Tebow's attorneys that it would not comply with their demands. Doolan also said they gave Tebow's lawyers the chance to retract their allegations against the company, but they did not. In a statement issued Wednesday, CubbyTees.com said the design is ''positive and innocuous'' and the graphic ''legally sound'' since it doesn't mention or depict Tebow. A message was left Friday seeking comment from Tebow's attorneys. Doolan also said his company had no reason to believe Tebow was personally involved in the legal threats, had any awareness of the shirt or any objection to the design -- although the quarterback was copied in on the cease and desist letter. Doolan added that he and his company are fans of Tebow. As of Friday night, no legal action had been taken by either side. ''We are artists and have no desire to trespass on anyone's legitimate intellectual property rights, but we also will not roll over and sacrifice ours,'' CubbyTees.com said in its statement. It's not the first time Tebow has been the subject of a merchandising spat. Last month, Reebok reached a settlement with Nike in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to remove thousands of jerseys and T-shirts it stamped with the quarterback's name from stores after he was traded from the Denver Broncos to the Jets in March. Nike Inc. had sued Reebok International Ltd., saying the rival apparel maker was trying to squeeze the most out of the end of its 10-year NFL apparel licensing deal by using Tebow's name on products -- even though Nike was about to begin a five-year NFL contract of its own.
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