The lights are on
Sony had sued actor Jerry Lambert, who played the company's popular ficitonal spokesman Kevin Butler, for breach of contract after the actor played a character similar to Butler in a Bridgestone ad promoting a Wii giveaway. Today, it was announced that the lawsuit was settled.
When it filed the suit, Sony had issued the following statement:
"Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony."
Based on the settlement, it appears that the court was sympathetic to Sony's argument. The court dictated that Lambert acknowledged that his contract with Sony prevented him from promoting competing game systems (the Wii in this case). Lambert is now barred from appearing in any advertisement or promotion for “any other video game or computer entertainment system or video game company” for two years. After that, there is a two-year period in which Lambert must notify Sony that he is appearing in a video game-related advertisement, giving Sony the right to decide whether or not the ad "violates Sony's rights in the Kevin Butler characters."
Translation: Don't expect to see Jerry Lambert in any video game ads in the foreseeable future.