Sony Sues “Kevin Butler” Actor… For Being Near a Wii Console

Yeah, really. Jerry Lambert, best known for his role as the fictional Sony Vice President character Kevin Butler, recently appeared in a Bridgestone tyre commercial wherein he and his co-workers are caught playing Mario Kart Wii by their boss. Sony isn’t too pleased about this ordeal, and is taking action.

Kevin Butler appears in many humourous PlayStation commercials, and has become strongly associated with the brand. However, its important to note that, in the Bridgestone commercial, he is not playing his iconic character. Nor is he directly promoting a Nintendo product – let’s not forget that this is an advertisement for car tyres.

Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t see it that way, and is in the process of suing both Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek Inc because of the commercial. Wildcat Creek Inc is Jerry Lambert’s very own production company, and the man already appears in many other commercials and movies.

Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a law suit 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.

I understand the strictness of marketing policies and the binding nature of contracts, but I really think Sony are going too far here. Suing Lambert over this is one thing, but suing Bridgestone too? What did they do?

Here’s the original video, which has been removed almost everywhere else. A revised version has been edited to remove Jerry Lambert completely:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9WRGjODZDQ

What do you think? Is Sony wrong on this one? (Clue: yes).

[Source: Destructoid]


Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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  1. OK after watching the commercial I can see the point of view of Sony and actually I can agree that under the right contractual situations they can and should sue (I am not a lawyer) but I assumed that Jerry Lambert would have some sort of contractual obligations on his end not to “promote” any other game consol as any character let it be the sony character he portrays or some tire tech.. he actually does say the word Wii in the commercial in a promotional context.. again im not a lawyer but there does seem like some grounds depending on the contract he signed with Sony.

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