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Can a couch really illegally imitate a famous actor?
Ashley Furniture Industries is taking no chances, finding enough coins in its cushions to put an end to a lawsuit brought by Brando Enterprises, the entity that controls Marlon Brando‘s estate. According to a stipulated judgement entered into the record on Friday, Ashley has agreed to pay $356,000 to end the case.
Brando Enterprises filed the lawsuit last year, claiming the late actor’s name, likeness, and trademarks were infringed in sofas and sectionals known as the “Brando.”
The estate has been eagerly pursuing in court those who have been using the famous “Brando” name, including a battle with Harley Davidson over motorcycle boots.
By taking $356,000 in its case against Ashley — which includes $51,000 for legal costs — Brando says it “sends a clear message that infringers of Marlon Brando’s name and image will be pursued to the fullest extent, and forced to pay substantial damages.”
However, the stipulated judgement says that the agreement is not an admission from Ashley that the company is liable for Brando’s claims.
The company is still in the midst of battling the estate of another famous individual, actor Humphrey Bogart, over use of a “Bogart” couch.
In that case, Ashley said that it wasn’t diluting a generic name and also sought a judicial declaration that rights of publicity can’t be applied to the name of a couch.
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