EA Still on the Hook for NFL Likeness Misuse; Wins on Sanctions Motion in the Meantime

As we have previously reported, Electronic Arts Inc. continues to be under fire for trying to evade responsibility for its alleged unauthorized use of thousands of NFL players’ likenesses in its video games, most notably in Madden NFL. On March 29, 2018, the retired players filed a motion in opposition to EA’s third attempt at summary judgment. According to the retired players’ motion, they represent a proposed class of over 7,500 other retired NFL players who claim to have been similarly aggrieved by EA’s…
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One of These Things is Not Like The Other: Electronic Arts and Retired NFL Players Argue Over Class Certification in Likeness Suit

On September 22, 2016, Electronic Arts and retired NFL players who claim that “Madden NFL” uses their likeness without permission argued over class certification in a California federal court. At the hearing, the parties debated whether publicity is a property right and the feasibility of ascertaining thousands of players’ avatars. The players’ attorney, Brian Douglas Henri, stated that suit was properly brought under California state law, reasoning that EA’s headquarters are in the Bay Area. Judge Richard Seeborg questioned why state law should apply when…
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Michael Jordan Reaches Settlement with Supermarket Chain

Michael Jordan, the former Chicago Bulls superstar, recently settled a lawsuit against two supermarket chains that engaged in the unauthorized use of his likeness. Jordan brought suit against the two Chicago grocery chains — Dominick’s and Jewel Osco— back in 2010 after the supermarkets included advertisements in a Sports Illustrated issue that misused Jordan’s name and likeness. Both ad’s made unauthorized references to Michael Jordan and in response, the basketball legend brought suit seeking $10 million for each ad. In August, a jury verdict was…
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Jordan Awarded $8.9 Million in Advertising Dispute

On Friday, August 21, the six year legal battle between Michael Jordan and now-defunct Chicago-area supermarket, Dominick’s, has finally ended with Jordan securing yet another victory. A federal court jury in Chicago returned a verdict in Jordan’s favor, awarding him $8.9 million for the unauthorized use of his brand.  The litigation, lasting six years, stemmed from an ad run in the 2009 commemorative Sports Illustrated magazine, celebrating Jordan’s induction into the hall of fame.  The advertisement included a congratulatory statement to Jordan in addition to…
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It Ain’t Easy Being Yellow: ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Loses Likeness Suit Over ‘Simpsons’ Mafioso Character Louie

On Thursday, August 7, the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in favor of Fox Television Studios, Inc. with regards to a likeness suit brought by “Goodfellas” actor Frank Sivero.  Sivero brought the suit back in October 2014, alleging that the TV show “The Simpsons” infringed his right of publicity with its character Louie. Sivero had claimed that he created his “Goodfellas” character in 1989, during which time he shared an apartment complex with the writers of “The Simpsons.”  He argued that after he told them…
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