August 16, 2011 10:34am PT by Eriq Gardner
Marlon Brando Estate Sues Over 'Brando' Sofas
Brando Enterprises, the entity that controls Marlon Brando's estate, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Rooms to Go, a Fla.-based retailer, is infringing the late actor's name, likeness, and trademarks in sofas and sectionals known as the "Brando."
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on August 12th.
"Part of our continued efforts on behalf of Brando Enterprises is to rigorously monitor the manufacturing and retail marketplace to ensure that any commercial use of the Brando name, image or trademarks is licensed through a negotiated agreement with Brando Enterprises' duly appointed licensing representatives," said Jeffrey Abrams of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, representing the estate.
This isn't the first time that a deceased Hollywood star has sued over furniture.
Last year, the estate of Humphrey Bogart sued Ashley Furniture Industries, alleging that a "Bogart" couch was likely to confuse, mislead or deceive the consuming public.
That dispute is still ongoing.
In its answer to the complaint, Ashley took exception to the idea that using the "Bogart" mark is likely to dilute what it believes to be a generic term. It also sought judicial declaration that rights of publicity can't be applied to the bogarting of a name to describe a couch.
Ashley was then hit in June with a similar lawsuit by none other than Brando Enterprises, which has asserted its rights on a variety of items including motorcycle boots. In its lawsuit against Ashley, Brando claims that a line of unlicensed "Brando" sofas and ottomans are unlawful.
We'll keep you updated whether dead celebrities are able to find some coinage between the cushions of these allegedly too-close-for-comfort furniture items.