LOS ANGELES -- Ashley Furniture Inc. is being sued by the enterprise of deceased actor Marlon Brando, which alleges that the furniture company should be paying licensing fees to use the Brando name for a line of sofas and ottomans.
Ashley Chairman Ron Wanek was quoted by Furniture Today as saying "The case has no merit whatsoever."
The lawsuit filed on June 23 by entertainment and licensing attorney Jeffrey Abrams of Los Angeles-based Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP, seeks an injunction to stop Ashley Furniture from "infringing and misappropriating the Brando name." The suit also seeks to recover unspecified damages based on sales of the line.
The lawsuit against Ashley comes on the heels of legal action filed by the Brando Estate lawyers against Harley-Davidson Motorcycles.
"Companies taking advantage of protected brands appears to be a growing problem for many iconic celebrity estates," said Abrams. "Companies may recognize the potential profits derived by associating products with iconic celebrities, however they need to know they are not entitled to generate revenues from the sale of products bearing unlicensed names, images and trademarks."
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