Attorney Willie Gary has filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court, Florida's Southern District, against HP and Palm on behalf of performer Ernest Evans over the firms' hosting of an app titled "The Chubby Checker." The app, a play on the stage name of Mr. Evans, was created by developer Magic Apps, was designed as a calculator for estimating the penis size of a man given the input of his shoe size. Chubby Checker, the singer, was a pop icon of the fifties and is perhaps best known for his cover of "The Twist."
"We cannot sit idly and watch as technology giants or anyone else exploits the name or likeness of an innocent person with the goal of making millions of dollars. The Defendants have marketed Chubby Checkers' name on their product to gain a profit and this just isn't right."
71-year-old Checker is demanding $500 million in damages to the dignity of his brand, yet as WebOS Nation points out, the app was downloaded only 84 times and cost a mere 99 cents. It was taken down in September of 2012, and WebOS Nation estimates the combined profits of HP and the creators, the now defunct MagicApps, might have been a whopping $100.
The statement also notes that Gary and his team are "no stranger" to winning big corporate settlements.
"In 1995, a jury awarded Gary and his legal team a record-breaking, half-billion dollars against one of the world's largest funeral chains, The Loewen Group. In addition, Gary is noted for winning a $240 million jury verdict in Orange County against the Walt Disney Corporation for his clients who alleged that Disney stole their idea for a sports theme park. In 2001, a jury awarded Gary a $139.6 million verdict for the Maris Distributing Company against Anheuser Busch."
Palm's WebOS platform has a market share that has hovered around just 1 percent for the last couple years, with no indication of coming anywhere close to Google's Android or Apple's iOS in the near future. While the 'Chubby Checker' app might have caused a half billion in damages on a more ubiquitous platform, it seems unlikely we'll see such a high payout from HP.