Wilson Class Action Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by g_desilva, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. g_desilva

    g_desilva New User

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    #1
  2. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    I can't see them winning this or, if they do, surely the payout would be trivial and the case would simply result in some more product disclaimers.
     
    #2
  3. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    What sort of grown adult is cretinous enough to buy a racket on the basis that they believe a professional uses it?
     
    #3
  4. corners

    corners Legend

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    A similar suit was brought against Nike when they claimed Tiger was using a golf ball that they sold but he was really using a ball that couldn't be purchased. The plaintiffs won that case and Nike eventually released the special Tiger-only ball for public consumption.

    People have wondered when this would happen in tennis for a while. Frankly, with the Nike-Tiger case on the books the racquet companies have been walking on thin ice with their paintjob shenanigans and they know it. It will be interesting to see if this case goes anywhere. The key will be proving that Federer currently uses an older model under a new paintjob. They must have some evidence of this otherwise I don't think they would take it to court. It would be cool if they bring sawed open racquets and stuff into the court room. :)

    A possible outcome of this could be that Wilson will start selling Federer's actual racquet again. (Again, because many people feel that the K90 was, in fact, the frame that he really uses. When they brought out the K version they were responding to some public outcry that players couldn't buy Fed's real racquet. So they said, well, here you go. Then, with the BLX, they changed the layup completely - removing kevlar and adding basalt.)
     
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  5. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Paintjobs are like push-up bras. I'm filing a class action lawsuit against my exes... :)
     
    #5
  6. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The article was very badly written. I can only hope the complaint that was filed is better. It's going to be a tough case against Wilson. It would have been a easier case against Babolat with the Cortex being painted on Nadal's original AeroPro Drive or Djokovic's racquet that is a completely different mold, head size, and head shape that is sold. Those things are very easy to show, prove, and visually has a impact.
     
    #6
  7. OnyxZ28

    OnyxZ28 Hall of Fame

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    #7
  8. syke

    syke Professional

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    It's about time...
     
    #8
  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Bravo. This was badly needed. The point is not about the 100 bucks or whether she will play like Federer, as people mistakenly think, but about exposing fraud. Arguing that she should have known Fed does not use the frame is bogus. The company is relying on the thousands of people who believe precisely this. I have seen many juniors walk in with their parents into the pro shop pointing out "Federer's racket" and "Nadal racket."

    After all the threads about this issue on TW, it is great that finally someone has filed a lawsuit. Even if they lose, the public awareness will be awakened. It is one thing to claim a frame is used by Fed if it customized later - the frame is still the same. But it is quite a different matter to lie when the frame being used is an older model, and the whole advertisement revolves around how the new version is better.

    Let us see how long this thread will remain, because I bet there is going to lot of pressure exerted.
     
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  10. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    That's ridiculous. Kids and juniors only want the aesthetic visual of their favourite pro's racquet. I doubt they care about whether or not the swingweight or composition of the racquet is identical to the one used on tour.
    Racquet companies should have the right to make new products to make new profits and pros should have the right to use a racquet they're comfortable with. The consumer does not have reason to complain about this unless it negatively affects them directly.
     
    #10
  11. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    They associate the racquet with Federer and that association is what sells the racquets.

    So if they've gone too far in some advertising they deserve to be chastised but this won't alter the fact that the racquet will sell based on this association regardless of whether the fine print says that it is a version of what he uses.
     
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  12. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    So, worst case, Wilson sells the exact frame that Federer uses and sells two
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is a question of false advertising. If you think that it is a question of making new products or using them, then I don't wish to discuss any further with you, because you will not get it. No one has prevented Wilson from making a new frame.

    Whether the cheating rises to the level of negatively affecting the customer is up to a judge or jury to decide. I recall that either Domino or Pizza Hut went after Papa Johns for claiming that they used the "best ingredients." They had to change it to "better ingredients." There is a huge double standard wrt companies. Apparently a company can claim that people are stupid enough to believe that "best ingredient" meant the best in the world from an objective standpoint. If so, a person can certainly claim that marketing a new frame by lying that Fed uses it is knowing deception. The business world cannot have it both ways.

    Let us see.
     
    #13
  14. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I'm assuming that there has to be very specific marketing practices at issue. Clearly, it wouldn't be enough it Fed uses a frame that looks like the BLX 90 or whatever on TW, but that's it. If the public is just filling in the gaps - "That's the frame Fed uses" without more from Wilson, then there isn't any basis for a lawsuit.

    But, obviously it's different if the frames are stamped with Fed's signature (like my Pure Drive Roddick) or there are advertisements/promotional spots stating that Fed uses this frame and it's available to you at TW.

    I never understood why players don't just promote a "line" of frames. "I'm Roger Federer, 17-time major winner, and I play BLX [model unspecified]. Wilson has created a line of superior frames for every level of player. Including you! Give BLX a try."
     
    #14
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I expect a whole lot of people from this forum will be called upon as expert witnesses.

    Can someone tell me how much I can charge for being an expert witness? Is it by the hour? Will the party pay for my travel and lodging expenses for testifying?

    Breakpoint will be the first to be called
     
    #15
  16. corners

    corners Legend

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    Yeah, that would be a better strategy, and legally safe. Don't know why they don't do it.

    This is all interesting to me because I wrote Wilson when they first came out with the BLX model, the black and red one, and asked whether the new racquet still featured the same construction as the K version, which Wilson claimed was Fed's real racquet. The reply I got was unsatisfying, completely ignoring both direction questions about 1) braided construction and 2) Kevlar. The answered only with a quote from their marketing material, something about BLX racquets using graphite with basalt fibers, making one of the most advanced composites in the industry, or some such. I concluded at the time that they had abandoned the braided construction used for all prior versions of the Pro Staff and Tour 90 series, and that they had dropped the Kevlar. No longer a Pro Staff frame, and it didn't play like it either. The newest version of the Tour 90 is braided, according to their catalogs, but those material do not mention Kevlar.

    I wonder if Wilson will try and buy FabFed's collection before they get into the plantiff's hands.
     
    #16
  17. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    I doubt it. @Bartleby nailed it - Wilson will just have to add some weasel words - that everyone with an IQ north of Forrest Gump - already knows. 'Based on', 'inspired by',...

    I'm still not sure they will lose. Not sure how the plaintiff was damaged. Since he can't get his hand on a real Fed racket, how can he prove his game suffered?

    I want to know if his lawyer will have the stones to make Fed show up and testify. Can you imagine the scene at the courthouse? :)
     
    #17
  18. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    Will "vsbabolat" please come to the witness stand... HAHA.

    But this lawsuit is needed; if you read the comments on it, there is mention of "some tennis forums"...

    But it would be easier to prove that Nadal is using an old APD, and Djokovic is using a completely different frame.
     
    #18
  19. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Attn Mods. Why was my earlier post on this topic deleted?

    Nothing I posted was inaccurate or substantially different to other posts above. Nor was it it information which could in any way cause embarrassment to the TW business or issues with any of their suppliers.

    So, again - rephrased to carefully consider any possibility of being misconstrued as something it's not.

    There seems to be an odd, seeming, error in the explanation of the class action. It says (ignoring the misnaming of the frame part) "..she bought a Wilson ... which sells for over $100, based on false advertisements .... when in truth he uses a discontinued older model that is much less expensive."

    Can you really complain about the comparative price of discontinued frames which, generally - as the name clearly implies, are unavailable?

    See the conundrum here? Generally you can't buy discontinued frames via normal Wilson retailers - Wilson don't market or supply discontinued models - that's sort of what being discontinued entails.

    Left-over stock is almost universally (with most consumer goods) sold cheaper than the current version of something. I'm not sure that would form the basis of a systematic deception which would warrant a class action.​
     
    #19
  20. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    There are a bunch of frames that Wilson sells that have Federer's picture on them. Same thing with Serena. I don't recall whether or not they have their signatures or not but it's pretty clear that Federer doesn't play with all of those frames.
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The issue is what will come out in the discovery process. That is what the company will be afraid of. If they are asked to report how many frames of what kind were sent to Federer and whether their cosmetics were changed en-route, they will be in trouble.

    Wilson may argue that they provided both old and new frames, and Fed was encouraged to use the new frames, but insisted on using the old.

    Question is: how are you going to prove that Fed used an older frame? Did she obtain one of them? She must have some proof.

    And yes, if Fed is called to testify, it will be fun.

    I wonder if a lawsuit can be filed against him.

    Ultimately, it will be determined that this is standard practice in the industry, Wilson will pay a nominal fine and agree to send 1 new frame to a bunch of people, and will be more guarded in its advertising from now on.
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    On the other hand, judge may determine that plaintiff has not been materially harmed and the spirit of advertising was to indicate that the frame was merely similar to what Fed used, since consumers will be confused if the entire history of frames is provided. Suit may be dismissed outright. Fed was encouraged to use the new frames, but did not, so Wilson had to supply older models with PJs. Now, who does the PJs? I understand that it is the manufacturer who pays people to do it, not P1 or ****. That will certainly look bad though. I have heard that the cost of making a PJ can be more than 100 bucks a frame. If this has been systematically done by the company, they cannot claim that it was all up to Fed.
     
    #22
  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Really? I bought a 26 inch junior frame yesterday because Federer's pic was on the cardboard.
     
    #23
  24. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    I understand what you're saying, but I don't think Wilson has ever explicitly stated something like "Roger Federer won Wimbledon in 2012 using the current Wilson BLX Pro Staff 90". If you go to their website:
    http://www.wilson.com/en-us/tennis/players/roger-federer/, you'll notice that it states he only endorses the BLX Pro Staff 90, not that he uses it. This lawsuit is frivolous and I don't think paint jobs are a big deal at all.
     
    #24
  25. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Thanks.

    You only have to get to the second page (item 3. "To trick....") to find something that would be very hard to prove.

    It says "To trick consumers into purchasing the new, more expensive Federer tennis racquet, Wilson has entered into an endorsement deal with Roger Federer...."

    On two counts this could be challenged - the obvious one being the new frames are not more expensive. They were the same price at the pro shop I regularly went to. Secondly, they claim Wilson entered into an endorsement deal with Federer "to trick consumers" - an intent that is completely unprovable.

    Notwithstanding, I don't think the "pay more" aspect of this is the core issue - the issue (for them) should be that Federer doesn't use the racquet they claim he does. If they convolute it with too much price comparison they'll only make it harder to get a win.

    (fwiw, I don't see it happening).
     
    #25
  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is the crux of the matter. Did they ever claim he was using it in a specific situation?

    For example, George Foreman may be using some other grill most of the time and his own grill only once a year. But one time use is still use.

    What will be looked at is if there was sufficiently deceptive advertising that a reasonable customer would conclude that Fed was using the new frame as his primary tool.

    I have say yes, because most of the people I know, from juniors to veteran club players, have not heard about PJs and believe that pros use the frames they read about, maybe with some lead added.
     
    #26
  27. OnyxZ28

    OnyxZ28 Hall of Fame

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    I wonder if the lead plaintiff is a TTW user? Show yourself!
     
    #27
  28. topspinlob

    topspinlob Rookie

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    this post made my day.. best post ever!..hahaha
     
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  29. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Page 6, item 24. Plaintiff first purchased Wilson's K Factor Six.One Tour racquet.When? They haven't made them for about 4 years

    Page 7, item 25. In deciding to purchase Wilson's K Factor Six.One Tour racquet, Plaintiff saw and relied on the express and implied statements made by Wilson, believing Wilson's claims that Roger Federer actually used these tennis rackets....(yes, he did)

    Page 7, item 26. ~~ because she paid for a racket that was not used in competition by the number one player in the world.. (yes, it was)

    Ummmm - Federer was using the K Factor Six.One Tour. That part we do know and the evidence we've seen from people who own actual Federer frames supports this for the most part. These sort of errors in fact trip up the class action in its current form in my estimation.

    I'm no lawyer but know enough that when you front up in court and the defendant can debate so many factual details so easily you're going to have a hard time scoring many goals
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
    #29
  30. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    You should have looked closer.
    "Roger’s choice and Wilson legendary Pro Staff updated with new Amplifeel handle system providing an even cleaner feel."
    http://www.wilson.com/en-us/tennis/rackets/pro-staff-90/
    "Playing with his Wilson Pro Staff 90 racket, Federer reclaimed the world no. 1 ranking last July, after his historic 17th Grand Slam title win, defeating Murray in the Wimbledon Gentlemen's final. Federer has won six ATP titles this year."
    http://www.wilson.com/en-us/tennis/news/Federer-number-one/
    Wilson career player and all-time Grand Slam record holder Roger Federer, continued his record-setting run with his 17th Grand Slam victory at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, defeating Andy Murray in four sets (4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4) for the gentlemen’s singles title. Playing with the Wilson Pro Staff Six.One 90 racket, Federer marched his way to today’s victory reclaiming the world No. 1 ranking and adding a record 32nd Grand Slam semifinal berth to his respected place in tennis history.
    http://www.wilson.com/en-us/tennis/news/1218792/

    Paint Jobs are a big deal in the industry. It's how the the companies sell racquets. It's a bad practice that should stop immediately!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
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  31. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    Touché! I concede my points on the matter. I still personally don't think paint jobs are that big of a deal.
     
    #31
  32. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    It is a big deal. It's how the companies go about marketing their racquets.
     
    #32
  33. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    This plaintiff does not have a good grasp of what is going on and the lawyer representing her does not understand the industry. So I dont see this going anywhere. Wilson's lawyers will get this thrown out of court. It wont reach a full trial.
     
    #33
  34. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    I understand that, however, I just don't see how it negatively affects anyone. It's not like they're advertising that these racquets will allow you to play like Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. I really see paintjobs as a way for kids to further their idolism in their favourite player.

    However, I do feel racquet companies should stop with their "new technologies" every year. I'm quite sick of BLX, d3o, YouTek, and so called Cortex technologies. Ideally, they should only update the paint scheme of the racquets and release the actual frames pros use. That way, people can buy the actual racquet of their favourite player but the companies can still release "new" racquets every year to maximize annual revenues - just like how Nike or Adidas can release the same Barricades or Vapors every season but in a different colourway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
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  35. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The racquet industry has taken on the model of the electronic industry. Where you have new products with advancements and better features every year. Racquet companies have adopted a 2 year cycle coming out with new racquets with supposed new technologies. The reality is there has not been any real advancement in about 25 years. There are over 10,000 different ways to put a racquet a together. So you have a new layup every 2 years with magic fairy dust sprinkled in promising you improvements in your game that are not true.
    Also the graphite racquets while is a superior material in every way over wood including being more durable. If you were a regular player in the wood era you had to buy a new wood racquet every year because they wood wear out. they wood wear out from string and from court rash pretty quickly. So the companies are trying to have those sales numbers by coming out with new racquets every year. You have to buy the new latest and greatest!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
    #35
  36. yonexRx32

    yonexRx32 Rookie

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    They only have to subpoena P1Tennis and ask them the questions.
     
    #36
  37. yonexRx32

    yonexRx32 Rookie

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    It affects negatively in that it tells the consumer that in order to have what Roger/Rafael/Andy play with, the consumer has to pay a big premium. The consumer pays the premium yet doesn't get what he/she was promised. Many people who bought the latest Wilson PS were led to think that this is the very same model Roger was using. They paid extra for that.
     
    #37
  38. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    They're paying a premium? Roger, Rafa, Novak and Andy don't play with the IG Prestige MP but they cost about the same thing.
     
    #38
  39. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I agree completely, I am against paint jobbing, it is definitely conning the consumer, which I think is wrong.

    However, picking on Wilson and Federer is a bad example as it's the same mold. I'm sure a case could be won against Head or Babolat as you say, although it does to some degree depend on exactly what they say in their marketing info, and I havn't looked carefully enough at that!
     
    #39
  40. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    go to the HEAD part of TW and have a look at the 'Speed' section..

    now, THAT'S how you leverage a brand!

    universal graphics, massive diversity of product.

    this is silly, frankly, but should be entertaining

    I look forward to a lawsuit against Toyota because somebody bought a 2008 Camry and it wasn't the same as Kyle Busch's
     
    #40
  41. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Paint jobs are not the problem.

    The problem is the overly specific association of the player's racquet with the currently available model in the form of 'buy the racquet he used to win ...'

    If this is what happened, then companies should be more careful to fashion a looser association and adopt clearer disclaimers.

    The fact is that this lawsuit may be more designed as a piece of corporate blackmail as the price of walking away for Wilson and not having to provide details in public would be high enough for the plaintiffs but not that big a deal for Wilson.
     
    #41
  42. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

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    "Novak Djokovic 's racquet of choice." The speed pro has shared holes!!! Novak 's racquet clearly does not. Very shady marketing, and just one example.
     
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  43. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    Hypothetically, let's say you were able to buy an identical racquet to Federer's. What good would that do you? How would the current BLX PS 90 be negative to your tennis game in comparison to one that is identical to Federer's? It's not like the racquets they sell are greatly inferior to the ones the pros use. I think most people would be happy enough to have a racquet that looks like Federer.
     
    #43
  44. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Head - What's Your Game?

    Great marketing campaign.
     
    #44
  45. yonexRx32

    yonexRx32 Rookie

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    It's not your business or the manufacturer's what I would be able to do. You said you are selling to me a racket in all respects identical to Federer's and you didn't. Would you pay $250K for a car that looks like a Ferrari? Whether you can drive a stick shift is not the question. The question is whether you are happy when you find out that you paid for a Ferrari and got the Hyundai in Ferrari red. It's really not all that complicated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
    #45
  46. syke

    syke Professional

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    You are out of your Vulcan mind...
     
    #46
  47. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    That's such a poor analogy for racquet paint jobs and completely irrelevant. What this entire argument comes down to is people feel cheated that their racquets aren't identical to the ones the pros use. There would be too many models if racquet companies were to offer their pro stock as retail models to the consumer. Look at all the pro stock models Head and Wilson offer to their players and think about how many models they'd have to produce for consumers if they were to offer them to the general populous. A lot of people complaining about paint jobs are acting like self-entitled kids.
     
    #47
  48. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    I just reread the car analogy again. It's nothing like paint jobs at all. It's more akin to Wilson selling you a badminton racquet and saying it's Federer's actual racquet. A complete straw man argument.
     
    #48
  49. AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND

    AREYOUOUTOFYOURVULCANMIND Rookie

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    I think I may be... Arguing with a bunch of strangers over the internet on a topic that has no direct impact on my life whatsoever! In all seriousness, there's no point in arguing with each other. I have the opinion that paint jobs are fine and others believe they should be able to buy the ones the pros use. Agree to disagree.
     
    #49
  50. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    are you also going to sue, I dunno, Red Bull because you forked out your 99c and failed to grow wings?

    caveat emptor
     
    #50

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