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Michael Jordan Sues Grocery Stores for Hall of Fame Congratulatory Ads

December 30, 2009 No Comments »
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The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that legendary basketball great Michael Jordan has sued two Chicago-area grocery stores for advertisements for the grocery stores featuring Jordan’s name and number 23 which ran in Sports Illustrated.  The ads, for Jewel and Dominicik’s, offer congratulations to the Chicago Bulls legend for his induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame, while also promting steaks and other goods available at the grocery stores. The lawsuits were filed in Cook County, Illinois, and seek at least $5 million in damages from each of the stores.   One of the ads depicts Jordan, donning number 23, jumping through the billboard with the tagline “You are a cut above” along with a coupon for a steak at the grocery store. The Jewel ad features a pair of shoes that Jordan claims are a “misleading copy” of his signature Nike Air Jordans. 

 

Among other factors involved in this kind of dispute, one should consider that Jordan already has a signature steakhouse restaurant and an online steak company named after Jordan.  Here is a link to the story:

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/Michael-Jordan-Sues-Jewel-and-Dominicks.html

 

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Chuck Yeager lands favorable ruling in right of publicity claim against AT&T

December 15, 2009 No Comments »
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General Chuck Yeager, known for breaking the sound barrier amongst many other distinctions in his career, has won a ruling against AT&T for the unauthorized use of his right of publicity.  The story at the following link gives a bit more detail, although it also incorrectly characterizes the victory as a ruling that breaking the sound barrier is itself a protectable intellectual property asset.  The better way to analyze the ruling has to do with what I call “unequivocal identifiability.”  If the use creates an unequivocal identification to Chuck Yeager, then there could the making of a viable claim as this example demonstrates:

http://www.onpointnews.com/NEWS/Chuck-Yeager-Keeps-on-Flying-With-Publicity-Rights-Suit.html


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