Washington, DC — Arent Fox LLP recently served as outside counsel to Rakuten Inc. in a multi-year partnership with the Golden State Warriors and the National Basketball Association to place the Japanese tech company’s logo on all of the team’s regular, practice, post-season, and Summer League uniforms.
Intellectual Property partner Pamela M. Deese advised Rakuten in its negotiations with the Warriors and the NBA in several transactions that were finalized in a matter of weeks. For the first time in league history, the NBA approved the sale of jersey sponsorships beginning with the 2017-18 season. The badges will appear on the front left side of NBA jerseys opposite the Nike logo. The Warriors will sport Rakuten’ s genuine logo with red and black on their white jerseys and a white version of the logo on the blue-and-slate jerseys.
As part of the partnership agreement, Rakuten will also become the official e-commerce partner, official video-on-demand partner, and official affiliate marketing partner of the Warriors. In addition, Rakuten Group company Ebates, a leading membership-based online cash-back site in the US, will become the Warriors Official Shopping Rewards Partner. The global mobile voice messaging service Rakuten Viber will become the Official Instant Messaging and Calling App Partner, and Rakuten Kobo eReaders will become the Official E-Reader Partner of the Warriors.
Founded in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, as the world’s first successful merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, Rakuten now encompasses over 70 businesses spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech that reach more than one billion members around the globe. Notably, Rakuten completed another groundbreaking deal earlier this summer when it became FC Barcelona’s main global sponsor in a four-year agreement.
Ms. Deese’s work includes counseling IP owners in developing strategic licensing programs and sponsorships. In particular, her practice focuses on intellectual property licensing, brand management, sweepstakes, and advertising.
Our Sports Practice
From coast to coast, Arent Fox boasts one of the most experienced and diverse sports law practices in the country, with clients spanning individuals, organizations, and teams involved with major league, minor league, and Olympic sports. The group regularly advises companies and organizations in the football, baseball, basketball, tennis, cycling, hockey, soccer, wrestling, collegiate, and high school sports industries and within the Olympic Movement on a wide array of issues, including those involving acquisitions and sales of teams, property and event companies, financings, media and technology agreements, intellectual property matters, and naming rights and other sponsorship transactions.
About Arent Fox
Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and the law intersect. With more than 400 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to a global roster of corporations, governments, and trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.