Shawne Merriman's 'lights out" dance was well known during his eight seasons in the NFL. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is suing Nike for trademark infringement and unfair competition over its Lights Out apparel line. The suit was filed on behalf of Merriman's Lights Out Holdings LLC in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Merriman was known for his "lights out" dance, in which he gyrated and threw his arms down after sacking opposing quarterbacks. Merriman, according to the lawsuit, had unsuccessfully negotiated to create a Lights Out apparel line in 2006 or 2007, but the company used the name anyway. The lawsuit states that Merriman acquired the federal trademark rights for Lights Out in 2007 and demands an injunction to stop trademark infringement and related unfair business practices, as well as damages to be determined at trial.
Merriman,who retired after the 2012 season, recorded 45.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Chargers and Bills. Nike has not commented on the lawsuit.