Bogart estate sues Burberry over ads

May 3, 2012 at 5:50 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 3 (UPI) -- Humphrey Bogart's estate says it is suing Burberry for the alleged unauthorized commercial use of the late U.S. actor's image in an international ad campaign.

The estate claimed in court papers filed Wednesday the fashion house ran online ads suggesting Bogart wore a Burberry trench coat in the famous final scene of his classic film "Casablanca."

The actor's representatives said they never gave permission for the use of Bogart's image in this advertising campaign.

"Just as Burberry needed to obtain Emma Watson's consent before using her name and image to promote Burberry's brand and products, it needed to obtain permission from the Bogart Estate to use Humphrey Bogart's name and image in its social media marketing campaign," publicity rights attorney Michael O. Crain, who represents Bogart LLC, the entity through which the Bogart Estate manages Bogart's publicity rights, said in a statement. "Burberry's business hinges on respect for its own intellectual property rights, so it is quite surprising to see that it apparently has so little respect for the clear rights of others."

"This is such an incredibly disappointing and disrespectful action by Burberry," said Stephen Bogart, the actor's son. "Apparently they believe a shoe company can advertise the fact that Brad Pitt wore its brand while jogging down the street, or a beverage company can claim George Clooney drank its product in one of his movies -- all without even asking, much less obtaining, the actors' permission. Wouldn't that be a nice, clever way to get Hollywood icons to endorse or advertise products without paying compensation or, more importantly, obtaining permission? What's next, a cigarette company can start an advertising program claiming Bogie smoked its brand, and there's nothing our family can do about it?"

The plaintiffs did not specify what, if any, damages they are seeking.

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