Graphic design firm Bertrand Webber is suing Spalding over the use of the design on this basketball, which it alleges Spalding used without its permission.
Graphic design firm Bertrand Webber is suing Spalding over the use of the design on this basketball, which it alleges Spalding used without its permission. ()

Bouncing Ideas—Three men have filed a lawsuit in New Jersey federal court accusing clothing company Russell Brands and its sporting goods subsidiary, Spalding, of ripping off their “fresh” take on basketball design.

Plaintiffs Robert Bertrand and Christian Arendt, of New Jersey, and Kirk Webber, of Pennsylvania, the group behind graphic design firm Bertrand Webber, claim that Spalding approached them in early 2007 for help in updating the look of the traditional basketball.

Bertrand Webber developed the “Spalding 2007 Ultimate,” which included designs for a basketball with “crossed” panels. The firm presented the designs to Spalding and then-director of consumer marketing & business analysis Bob Llewellyn in the spring of 2007.

Spalding offered Betrand Webber $2,000 for the design, the suit says, but the firm declined and instructed Llewellyn to “destroy the Spalding presentation and not use it for any purpose.”

However, Bertrand Webber claims the design showed up on a basketball and other Spalding merchandise several years later, including on balls used by the Women’s National Basketball League.

The group is seeking damages and injunctive relief for copyright infringement, declaratory judgment, breach of contract and idea theft.

Bertrand Webber’s attorney, Craig Hilliard of Stark & Stark in Princeton, N.J., did not respond to request for comment. A spokesman for Spalding could not be reached.


Paris Eliades

Professional Help—The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) is offering advice designed to ease the minds of transitioning lawyers.

“A Field Guide to Legal Practice: A Resource for Lawyers in Transition,” released Aug. 6 as an e-publication, aims to serve as a professional guidebook, directed especially at new lawyers and lawyers creating their own solo practices.

Available for free to members on the State Bar website, the guide houses content that editors Christine Petruzzell of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge, N.J., and Susan Nardone of Gibbons in Newark call “practical advice that one might otherwise seek by walking down the hall to speak with a more experienced colleague.”

Topics addressed in the nearly 100-page publication, created from articles that appeared in New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, include legal office management and ethics, as well as newer issues like web marketing and data security.

The guide’s development happened after members of the State Bar Association, helmed by President Paris Eliades, realized transition resources were lacking.

“[We uncovered] a tremendous need for support for lawyers in all phases of transition,” Eliades said. “And the state bar association is well-equipped to provide the best guidance.”

The publication is presented in tandem with the Lawyers in Transition Committee, created by Eliades within the NJSBA. Events sponsored by the group will begin in the winter.


Photo courtesy Atlantic City Tourism

Severed Ties—Donald Trump wants to wash his hands of Atlantic City.

The outspoken businessman and reality star is suing Trump Entertainment Resorts to remove his name from two casinos, Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal, which he says are damaging his reputation with service and hotel amenities that are decidedly less than luxurious.

“I want it off both of them,” he told the Associated Press on Aug. 5 when announcing the lawsuit. “People think we operate (the company), and we don’t. It’s not us. It’s not me.”

The complaint, filed in Atlantic County, N.J., Superior Court, accuses the casino group of breach of licensing and alleges the hotels, which Trump claims consistently receive bad reviews and are in severe need of repair and upgrades, is leading customers to believe he is responsible for their condition.

The suit demands that all references to Trump be scrubbed from the group, even with the impending closing of Trump Plaza, a recently-announced decision that Trump claims to have had no knowledge about,

Trump Entertainment and its casinos were once a subsidiary of one of Trump’s larger businesses, but “The Donald” said he has been out of Atlantic City for “many years,” and currently only holds minor equity in the group, which includes a license to use his name.