January 03, 2014 3:40pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson Settle Lawsuit Over Use of 'A-Team' Images
The switch is being turned off on a lawsuit with a lot of star power.
In March, 2013, Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson together sued two home cinema companies -- Vutec Corporation and First Impression Theme Theaters -- alleging that their images were used in the course of an advertising and marketing campaign. The defendants used a screenshot of the duo from the action film The A-Team to promote a big projection screen.
On Thursday, the parties revealed that they had settled the case.
Although the dispute didn't result in any significant rulings on the path to resolution, there was the hint of a big issue during the course of discovery.
Facing a multimillion dollar claim for violations of publicity rights and trademarks, First Impression demanded loads of documents from the actors. Among the requests were all versions, drafts and communications related to the actors' A-Team deals.
Why did the company want all this?
According to First Impression's court papers, "Defendant sought highly relevant documents which could establish whether Plaintiff has any of the intellectual property rights he claims were infringed, or whether he transferred those rights to another party, such as the film's producer, Twentieth Century Fox Corporation."
Depending on what was in the actors' deals, this could have triggered a defense that the actors had assigned their publicity rights concerning the film to the studio. It could also have been the start of a legal fight over whether the publicity claims were preempted by federal copyright and trademark law.
Nevertheless, those issues will have to be explored in another dispute. One good candidate is Peter Fonda's ongoing battle with Dolce & Gabbana for selling T-shirts with stills of his image from the 1969 film Easy Rider. The defendant has previously signaled that its defense would be based on a contract made with Sony Pictures.
Meanwhile, the A-Team image lawsuit is over. Terms of the deal weren't released, and attorney Charles Harder, who represented the actors, declined to comment.