Schwarzenegger sues bobblehead maker

May 18, 2004 at 5:01 PM

LOS ANGELES, May 18 (UPI) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's film production company is suing a small Ohio toy maker for illegally exploiting his image for financial gain.

The governor's lawyers filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Ohio Discount Merchandise Inc., saying the company violated his rights to his image, which are worth millions of dollars and are his sole property, the New York Times reported.

The Canton, Ohio, company manufactures bobblehead dolls of political figures, including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean; retired Gen. Wesley Clark; and Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas. In April the company unveiled a bobblehead of Schwarzenegger in a suit wielding an assault rifle.

"California has very strong laws that protect celebrities," said Schwarzenegger lawyer Martin Singer. "His name, voice and likeness are not in the public domain. If you use them for commercial purposes, you are potentially liable for damages."

Todd Bosley, the toy company's president, says the dolls are protected under the First Amendment: "No other politician has done this. Jimmy Carter sent me a book. Hillary Clinton signed one and sent it back to me. Rudy Giuliani carried his around with him to several of his speeches. We've never had a problem like this," said Bosley.

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