Advertising Law

Soccer great Pele sues Samsung for $30M, using same attorney as Michael Jordan

Pele has filed a $30 million lawsuit against Samsung, contending that the electronics manufacturer improperly used a lookalike in an ad for a television set last year that ran in the New York Times.

Although the name of the Brazilian soccer great isn’t mentioned, a partial face shot of a man who looks much like him takes up about half the ad page. A superimposed ultra high-definition television screen features two soccer players, one of whom is performing a “modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pele,” the suit says.

It alleges that Samsung used the look-alike after abruptly pulling out of negotiations to use Pele himself, and says the substitution creates a likelihood of confusion and will adversely impact the value of Pele’s endorsement rights, according to the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune (reg. req.).

Pele is represented by Fred Sperling, the same lawyer who last year won an $8.9 million jury verdict for Michael Jordan—also in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago—over a supermarket chain’s use of the retired basketball superstar’s name and jersey number in its advertising.

Hat tip: The Independent.

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