Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Trademark ‘Harris Faulkner’ infringes right of Anchor Harris Faulkner
Harris Faulkner, an anchor for the show “Fox Report Weekend” and a co-host for “Fox Outnumbered” brought a suit against toy producer Hasbro for making a toy reflecting her in ditto.She instituted a suit under trademark law for false endorsement and unfair competition as well as violation of her right of publicity. She claimed five million dollars as penalty for this unreasonable similarity.
A small toy hamster that Hasbro has also named “Harris Faulkner” is based on Harris Faulkner. The toy has similar name and look with the Fox News presenter.Faulkner said that the hamster has 'physical resemblance to her traditional professional appearance, in particular the tone of its complexion, the shape of its eyes, and the design of its eye make up'. Hasbro used TM next to the name “Harris Faulkner”.
The reporter contented in her plea that using her name as trademark by Hasbro has violated Faulkner’s right to control the use of her name and likeness. Faulkner found it a ‘direct and contributory' acts of unfair competition and brought the suit under Lanham Act.
In response to this Hasbro said that“mere use of a real person's name for a fictional character is not actionable as a right of publicity claim absent additional evidence that the unique identity of that person has been misappropriated,". It also held that name-sameness is not enough to state a claim for a violation of one’s right of publicity under well-established law. Though the company argued its best, the act of the company is deemed to be intervening of someone’s right and it is more likely to get punished.