Former Chiefs linebacker Chris Martin has sued the team for copyright infringement over the improper use of his artwork.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, alleges that the Chiefs Ambassadors used Martin’s artwork as their logo without his permission. The suit says Martin, who played for the Chiefs during 1988-92, shared his designs with the Chiefs Ambassadors, the team’s former players organization, while deciding whether to join in 1996. But Martin alleges that he never gave the Ambassadors permission to use his artwork.
According to the suit, Martin’s artwork was used on the Ambassadors’ promotional and marketing material, their website, jackets and hats. The Ambassadors, according to the suit, acknowledged in 2006 that Martin created the artwork but that he had granted a license, which the suit says the group has refused to produce.
The Chiefs, and the Ambassadors’ trustees, their foundation and charitable foundation are named as defendants in the suit, which says the Ambassadors trademarked Martin’s artwork. Martin says that he created the artwork in 1996 and a copyright registration is pending.