In a lawsuit filed in New York, Burberry claims that it had the right to use an actor’s image in a timeline of its fashions and the caption, “Humphrey Bogart wearing a Burberry trench coat in the final scene of Casablanca (1942).”
Burberry launched the historical timeline of its storied brand on Facebook earlier this year, and also expanded the campaign to Twitter and Instagram. The timeline begins with the first Burberry store from 1856.
According to the Burberry court filing, a California company called Bogart LLC threatened to sue it for violating the actor’s publicity and trademark rights.
London-based Burberry says it paid to license the Casablanca photo and that its use of the image did not constitute an endorsement. It wants the New York court to declare its use of the image is allowed.
In some states like New York, image rights do not survive a person’s death while in other states like California they do. This issue was the source of a recent controversy over a proposed Steve Jobs doll.
Here’s the complaint:
Image by Danomyte via shutterstock