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Adidas finds Sachin on the wrong foot

New Delhi, May 25
Sports goods maker Adidas today dragged its rival Nike and cricket board BCCI to Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) over use of Sachin Tendulkar's images for endorsements when he is not playing for the country.

Accepting Adidas’ petition, an MRTPC bench headed by Justice O. P. Dwivedi issued notices to Nike India, BCCI, Tendulkar and his business managing firm Iconix, asking them to file replies within three weeks. It also asked Adidas to file a rejoinder within two weeks from the receipt of replies.

During the proceeding, Adidas alleged that Nike was violating its exclusive personal endorsement agreement with Tendulkar by using his name for promoting its products.

Adidas also argued BCCI granted Nike only sponsorship and licensing rights and to carry trademarks of the batsman only while playing for the country.

Nike had won the five-year sponsorship rights for the Indian cricket team in 2005, outbidding Reebok and Adidas.

“Sachin Tendulkar is our brand ambassador since 1997 and ... (this) is in public perception not only in India but globally too... What is the basis of their right,” Adidas counsel Shailendra K Kapoor said.

“Nike tried to indicate that Sachin's brand name was with them, which is an unfair trade practice by them. We are the exclusive owner of that brand name globally,” he said, urging the commission to restrain Nike from “deceiving public”.

However, declining any immediate relief to Adidas, the MRTPC bench said: “When you have waited for six months, then wait for one more month”. The matter was then posted for hearing in July. — PTI

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