October 10, 2011 8:25am PT by Eriq Gardner
The Gap Hires High-Powered Lawyer to Defend Kim Kardashian's Multimillion-Dollar Look-alike Suit
The Gap wants Kim Kardashian's lawsuit over an advertisement that featured a look-alike to be thrown away.
The reality TV star sued in July over an Old Navy commercial that showed an actress that purportedly looked like Kardashian singing her love of bargain-basement jeans.
Last week, The Gap, which owns Old Navy, answered the lawsuit by disputing that it had used Kardashian's likeness in the form of a celebrity look-alike.
The company also offered, briefly, a peek at the arguments it intends to make in an effort to defeat Kardashian's claims. In particular, The Gap says its advertising activities are protected by the First Amendment "inasmuch as such activities include significant informational elements and/or constitute a transformative use."
To defend itself, The Gap has also hired a top lawyer, Louis Petrich at Leopold, Petrich & Smith, who has represented a number of Hollywood studios and specializes in intellectual property and First Amendment issues. He'll be making the case, among things, that telling consumers where they can get discounted denom qualifies as a informational element.
In other entertainment law news:
- The high court of Australia has declined to hear an appeal over whether the international hit, "Down Under," by the band, Men at Work, was copied from a 1930s folk song. The decision not to review a lower court's decision means that the song's publishers will have to pay 5% of royalties to the company that now holds rights over the original folk song.
- Viacom is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit over background silhouette images of women dancing that are allegedly copyrighted and were used for a couple of episodes of MTV's The Real World. Viacom argues that the images were seen only briefly and thus constituted "de minimus" use of the material.
- Twitter has failed to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the social media site is guilty of infringing a patent over a system for following famous people online. A trial has been set for October 24 with the judge urging parties to work out a settlement.
- Perhaps to save some money, Pamella Lawrence represented herself in a lawsuit against Sony Pictures for infringing the copyright on her book for the film, Death at a Funeral. But the lawsuit is going to end up costing Lawrence quite a bit of money after a California federal judge ordered Lawrence to reimburse $200,000 of legal costs to Sony for bringing the unsuccessful claims. Not all attempts to recover money spent defending copyright infringement suits are successful. For example, two weeks ago, Disney was denied in its attempt to win $38,000 in costs from Jake Mandeville-Anthony in an unsuccessful lawsuit over Cars. Both cases are under appeal.