Limiting Remedies On Celebrity Right-Of-Publicity Claims

Law360, New York (February 28, 2017, 4:36 PM EST) -- There is a growing trend by courts to characterize certain right-of-publicity claims as an infringement of an intellectual property right in deciding whether they fall within an insurance policy's intellectual property claim exclusion.[1] This issue was most recently addressed by the Northern District of California in Mendocino Wine Group LLC v. QBE Americas Inc.,[2] where the court held that a winemaker's right-of-publicity claim against the Mendocino Wine Group for using his image to distribute and sell wine fell within an insurance policy's exclusion barring coverage for copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret claims. In so doing, the Mendocino court explained that the winemaker's claim is not a right-of-privacy action, which is intended to protect injury to one's feelings and peace of mind, but rather a right-of-publicity suit to enforce the winemaker's intellectual property right to profit from the commercial value of his name and likeness....

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