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What if you are your brand? How do you protect that?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2022 | Intellectual Property

When you think of brand protection, you might think of things like Coca-Cola filing a lawsuit against anyone using a logo or name too similar to theirs. Yet what if you are your brand?

You do not need to reach the heights of Michael Jordan to make brand protection vital. If your business is you, such as in the case of sports stars or other celebrities, then it is important to understand the legal matters.

Your image may earn more than you

Let’s say you play a professional sport. The salary you earn from the team may only constitute a small part of your income. There is a lot of money to be made from sponsorship deals or allowing companies to use your face in their publicity campaigns. This income stream can last far longer and prove more valuable than your playing career.

There is no singular federal law protecting image rights of publicity

There are however state laws that may apply. For example, the Illinois Right of Publicity Act.

When someone uses your image for commercial or fundraising reasons, they typically need your permission to do so.

Yet it is not only your image. The law protects your identity. Defining that is not always straightforward. If someone puts your face on t-shirts they sell outside the sports stadium that is a clear breach. Or if you play baseball and a company starts promoting bats with your name on that too would be clear. Yet it can go further than that.

For instance, actors or singers with distinctive voices have managed to sue in the past when someone has run a campaign using someone who sounds like them. Some sportspeople have even tried to protect the celebratory gestures they make.

Protecting your publicity rights is not straightforward, yet doing so is essential. As a sports player, you have a limited career to fund you for the rest of your life. You need to ensure money is not leaking out into someone else’s pockets.

Get Started today

Contact us today if you have a brand to protect, or a brand beginning to build. To learn more about Thirdinline Legal LLC and how we can help you achieve your legal and financial goals, contact us online or by telephone at 312-878-6072.