The retired Brazilian football player Pele is believed to have sued Samsung $30 million for using a model who looks like him in an advertisement.
The move came over an advert of an ultra high-definition television that appeared in the New York Times in October 2015.
Although his name was not there, the advert appeared to have featured him with its use of an elderly male model closely resembling him. It also includes a picture of a football player doing the scissor kick or bicycle kick which everyone knows to be Pele’s signature move.
Pele IP Ownership LLC, which has Pele’s publicity and trademark rights, filed the lawsuit against Samsung. They are asking for compensation since the company does not want Pele’s image to be used without the legal approval.
BBC reports that Samsung used Pele’s name to promote its products following a break off in negotiation in 2013. Danielle Meister Cohen, Samsung’s spokesman, refused to make any comments.
Pele, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is the best legendary player of his era. He is a three-time world champion winner. He started playing football with Brazilian football club, Santos Futebol Clube. He won the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup with the club.
Now that he has retired, Pele relies on brand endorsements for money. He is engaged with Volkswagen, Subway, Emirates and Procter and Gamble for sponsorship deals.
According to Dream Team FC, Pele’s lawyer Frederick Sperling said that such identity breach will affect his endorsement right and will confuse people as to what products and brands he is supporting.
“The goal is to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorised use of Pele’s identity and to prevent future unauthorised use,” said Sperling in a report by Sky News.
Sperling had earlier represented former Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan. He helped Jordan win $8.9 million dollars in a case against a supermarket chain who unauthorisedly used his image and name in its goods’ promotion.
Other celebrities like Lindsay Lohan sued Rockstar Games over the use of a character in Grand Theft Auto V, resembling her.