A couple of days ago, we saw Sony sue their iconic advertisement frontman, Kevin Butler (real name, Jerry Lambert). This happened after Lambert appeared in a Bridgestone commercial, playing Mario Kart on a Wii, and Sony quickly filed a lawsuit against the company and him.
Sony’s initial report reads:
“Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship.
We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony.”
As CVG reports, the Bridgestone advert originally aired three days after Lambert’s contract with Sony expired, but that an “exclusivity clause” prevented the actor from having his likeness used alongside any rival games product or console — exactly what the Wii he used is.
Bridgestone’s take on the matter though doesn’t help the situation, with the company saying that “Mr Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer. Bridgestone denies that Kevin Butler appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial.”
What are your thoughts? Is Sony right, and whenever you see Lambert you think of Kevin Butler? Or is Bridgestone right?