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The estate of screen legend Marlon Brando has reached a deal with Harley-Davidson Motor Company to resolve a lawsuit that alleged the motorcycle giant infringed the actor’s publicity rights in selling a line of boots called “The Brando.” The deal marks the second major settlement for Brando Enterprises in the past month in ongoing efforts to protect the late acting legend’s name.
Brando Enterprises sued Harley-Davidson in May 2011 claiming that the “Brando” boots looked similar to the pair that Brando wore in the 1953 classic The Wild One.
By using the actor’s name and implying a connection to the old Brando film, the plaintiff alleged that Harley-Davidson had misappropriated his likeness for a commercial endeavor. At the time of the lawsuit, Brando Enterprises also noted that Harley Davidson has been aggressive protecting its own intellectual property from perceived infringements and should have known better.
On Monday, the parties informed a judge they had reached a settlement and would file a motion to dismiss the case within 30 days.
Details of the deal aren’t yet known, but Brando Enterprises did wrangle a tidy sum against a furniture maker last month in a similar case. In that dispute, the estate sued Ashley Furniture Industries for selling a line of sofas and sectionals known as the “Brando.” The lawsuit closed after Ashley agreed to hand over $356,000 while not admitting any liability on Brando’s claims.
In The Wild One, Brando played Johnny Strabler, the rebellious leader of a biker gang. The film’s most famous exchange is when Brando’s character is asked, “What are you rebelling against, Johnny?” and he answers, “Whaddaya got?” Later in the film, however, after some trouble in Wrightsville (not “rights-ville” evidently), the motorcyclists are ordered to leave town.
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