San Diego Business Journal

Former Chargers Linebacker Goes on Offense, Sues Nike Claiming Trademark Infringement

By Mike Allen Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Former San Diego Charger linebacker Shawne Merriman filed a lawsuit against Nike Inc., alleging the sports-gear giant infringed on his trademarked Lights Out brand.

The lawsuit by his company, Lights Out Holdings LLC, demands injunctive relief to stop Nike from using the brand name, and seeks damages of “up to $2 million per content mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale or distribution.”

Merriman, who played in the National Football League for eight seasons and retired in 2012 from the Buffalo Bills, said he earned his nickname “Lights Out” while still in high school “when I knocked out four opposing players in one football game.”

While in his five seasons on the Chargers, Merriman was known as a fierce pass rusher who would do a dance on the field after tackling opposing quarterbacks.

According to the lawsuit, in late 2006 and 2007, Merriman and Nike entered into negotiations for a Lights Out line of clothing, but there was never any agreement.

Merriman, 29, is reportedly pursuing a career as a professional wrestler.