Australian tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis is being sued by the cereal company Kellogg’s after he announced plans to use his ‘Special K’ nickname for commercial purposes.
Kellogg’s have initiated court proceedings to defend the Special K trademark which it has owned in Australia for 59 years, and a hearing in Adelaide at the Federal Court of Australia sent the case to a mediation conference in August.
The hearing comes 17 months after Kellogg’s first lodged a complaint against the young tennis star for his use of the phrase, with the company saying it has eight different trademarks on the Special K brand.
The 21-year-old is currently unranked after battling injuries over the past two years, but he did reach a career-high 69th back in 2015, and he wants to expand his brand now he’s back fit and playing.
Kokkinakis made his return at the French Open this week, but lost in the 1st round to 8th seed Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4.
“The Kokkinakis Company has applied to register Special K as a trademark and we are defending our trademark,” said a Kellogg’s spokesperson.
“Special K is obviously an iconic cereal brand for Kellogg’s in Australia and a favourite breakfast cereal of the country.
“His association (with the brand) could help, but at the end of the day it’s a trademark that we own and we want to continue to own.”
Kokkinakis’ father, Trevor, runs the company that owns the tennis star’s Special K trademark, and the family were attempting to create a label off the Australian’s name, similar to the international brands belonging to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“Special K is one of our most iconic global brands and we’re seeking to defend our rights to the 50-year-old trademark,” Kellogg’s said through their Australian twitter page.
Kokkinakis responded by posting the crying laughing emoji on his own Twitter page.
— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) June 7, 2017
Both parties are reportedly confident of winning the ensuing legal battle.