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Feb/05

You Can't Make This Stuff Up


Model does two hour photo shoot in 1986.  Nestle doesn’t tell him that it put the picture on the TASTER’S CHOICE jar.  He sees the jar for the first time in 2002.  Sues.  Gets awarded $15.6 million dollars.

Update: Scott Whiteleather writes ” . . . it is interesting to see an award like this for someone who is not a celebrity by traditional standards . . . ” noting that an unknown would likely receive $200,000 to $250,000 per year for what is ostensibly worldwide use.

However, Scott writes that the “distinguishing factor in this case is that this is not simply the use of an individual’s likeness in an ad.  Mr. Christoff’s photo was used on the actual product.  As such, I would suggest that the image became an integral part of the trademark.  Imagine the label without the smiling, contented face and consider whether the impact is the same.

In today’s legal climate, plaintiff’s often claim that the use of their image is actionable under an 1125(a) claim.  In many cases, the argument in tentative at best.  Here, however, the parallel between right of publicity and the Lanham Act is unmistakable.”

 

 

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