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India's Tendulkar sues Australian cricket bat maker over $2m in royalties

June 15, 2019

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The retired star batsman made a formal request for payment two years after the agreement. but none came. — AFP/File
The retired star batsman made a formal request for payment two years after the agreement. but none came. — AFP/File

Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar has filed a civil lawsuit against an Australian bat manufacturer, accusing it of using his name and image to promote products and then failing to pay him $2 million in royalties.

In Federal Court papers filed this month and reviewed by Reuters, Tendulkar said Sydney-based Spartan Sports International agreed in 2016 to pay him at least $1 million a year to use his image, logo and promotional services to sell “Sachin by Spartan” sporting goods and clothing.

The retired star batsman soon went to work promoting the products, and appeared at a range of promotional events in places such as London and the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, the documents showed.

However, by September 2018, Spartan had failed to make a single payment owed, Tendulkar said, and he made a formal request for payment. When none came, he ended the agreement, asking the company to stop using his name and likeness.

Yet Spartan continued to do so, according to the documents.

Spartan, whose legal representative was not listed on the Federal Court website, did not respond to an email request from Reuters for comment.

Les Galbraith, listed by the court documents as its chief operating officer, did not respond to a private message sent to his LinkedIn page.

The law firm listed as representing Tendulkar, Gilbert + Tobin, declined to comment.

Tendulkar's civil claim accused the Australian company of misleading or deceptive conduct, “passing off”, or suggesting an official endorsement when none existed, and breach of contract. It did not say what damages were sought.

Tendulkar became the world's leading run-scorer in tests and one-day internationals, with more than 34,000 runs and 100 centuries, in a 24-year career that ended in 2013.

In 2012, he was made an honorary member of the Order of Australia, one of the country's highest civil awards.

The court website showed the lawsuit was filed on June 5, with the first court date in Sydney on June 26.