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Sony Sues Kevin Butler
PlayStation commercials have been very funny over the past few years thanks to a fake Sony executive named Kevin Butler. However, we may have seen the last of the character. Sony is suing Jerry Lambert, the actor who plays Butler, for violating their trademark on the character.
The lawsuit is against both Bridgestone Tires Company and their advertising firm Wildcat Creek, Inc. Lambert, the president of Wildcat, appeared in a series of Bridgestone's commercials. Sony evidently feels that Lambert's character in these ads is too similar to Kevin Butler.
One example is the Firestone commercial below. Lambert appears at the very end, talking smack to Deion Sanders.
Kevin Butler is known for his trash-talking ways as well, but it does seem like a bit of a stretch to say that this unnamed Firestone ad character is a rip-off of him. Sony seems to think they have a case, though.
"Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11," a company spokesperson told VentureBeat. "The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony."
Regardless of how this lawsuit shakes out, this doesn't bode well for Kevin Butler. It seems unlikely Lambert and Sony will continue doing business together after this ugliness. Too bad, because the Kevin Butler commercials were probably the best PlayStation ads ever made.
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