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Quote of the Day - A woman knows the face of the man she loves like a sailor knows the open sea. - Honore de Balzac
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What's A Face On A Label Worth? You Might Be Surprised, But Then Again, Perhaps Not.

Life in LA is exciting.  You never know what's going to happen when you go to the grocery store.  You just might find your mug on the label of a product on the shelf, say Nestle's Taster's Choice instant coffee.

And if you did, you might be amused.  Or, you might not be, especially if you're a male model by the name of Russell Christoff and you didn't give Nestle permission to use your mug.  You might even say it's your visage; your essence.

You might even elect to sue Nestle for invasion of privacy, and even ask the jury for an award of the money Nestle made while your mug was plastered on the label.  And if you're the jury, then you might even award damages, say $330,000 for invasion of privacy, and say, $15 million in profits.

That's right.  $15 million.  That's a lot of instant coffee. 

The "what if" scenario actually happened in the case of Christoff v. Nestle.  Almost.  But, it's only half the story.

The rest of the story is in the appellate court opinion in the last link.  The court didn't think the $15 million was justified - surprise, surprise.  Instead, the court noted that before Mr. Christoff's visage was on the Taster's Choice label, another "handsome man" was on the label.  And after Nestle got caught using Christoff's visage without permission, there was another "handsome man" on the label.

In other words, the Court wasn't buying Christoff's argument that his visage had risen to "icon" status.  He was just another pretty face. 

Indeed, a mug.

And all in the flash of an appeal, the $15 million disappeared. 

On the other hand, $330,000 isn't too bad for mug shot.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, July 03, 2007 at 14:55 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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