The leading online Right of Publicity resource.

Italian Steve Jobs fashion company makes obvious the necessity for meaningful Right of Publicity provisions

January 2, 2018 2 Comments »
Share this article:

For those who argue against the need for meaningful Right of Publicity legislation, like many I have observed in the latest New York legislative effort, I offer the following situation as a compelling example that not only demonstrates the necessity of Right of Publicity recognition, but also the inadequacy of trademark law as a sufficient substitute.

An Italian company led by two brothers started a fashion company called Steve Jobs. There is no mistaken identity or alternate Steve Jobs intended by the fashion company; they openly confirm that their company is named after the late Apple-innovator Steve Jobs. Want proof? Their logo is the letter “J” with a bite taken out of it, just like Apple’s iconic trademark.

While many will already see the obvious, note that an EU trademark proceeding determined that the fashion company’s logo is (somehow) not a J with a bite out of it because (apparently) a J cannot be bitten as an apple can.

Perhaps under the guise of feigning nobility or respectfulness, the company states that they won’t make shoddy products because they “respect the name of Steve Jobs.” Of course, that respect doesn’t preclude them from including Steve Jobs’ quotes in their promotional efforts.

This, loyal readers, scholars or members of the media, is why we need a Right of Publicity. This situation exposes the inadequacy of arguing that trademark law provides sufficient protection for publicity-rights interests. It also demonstrates the compelling necessity for meaningful Right of Publicity legislation as a distinct member within the intellectual property family.

Here is a link to an article with more details on the matter:

Italian Steve Jobs company v. Apple article


2 thoughts on “Italian Steve Jobs fashion company makes obvious the necessity for meaningful Right of Publicity provisions

  1. Jeong-Ho Lee says:

    Hi Jonathan, Actually, because this is an Italian company, there’s a way to proceed against this kind of infringement. Community Trade Mark(“CTM”) will be cancelled if it is in violation of the laws of any of the Member States. Italian Industrial Property Law Article 8 protects against unauthorized use of name, and that provision may be used to cancel the CTM registration. National trademark registration in other countries is a separate matter. There is even a case law from the highest court of the EU, CJEU, regarding this issue.

  2. jfaber says:

    Thanks for weighing in, Jeong-Ho. Valuable insight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 − four =

Recent Posts

In The News

Archives

Feeds