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‘Kevin Butler was not in Bridgestone advert’: Sony lawsuit trundles on

Tuesday, 9th October 2012 10:52 GMT By Dave Cook

Sony and Bridgestone are still locking judicial horns over the appearance of Kevin Butler actor Jerry Lambert in one of the tyre manufacturer’s adverts. Bridgestone has claimed that Lambert was not playing Butler in the ad.

Lambert’s appearance in the Bridgestone advert saw him playing Mario Kart on Wii, something which riled up Sony in a big way, claiming the actor was in breach of contract.

Sony’s initial statement on the matter read:

“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.”

CVG reports that the Bridgestone advert initially aired three days after Lambert’s contract with Sony expired, but that an “exclusivity clause” prevented the actor from phaving his likeness used alongside any rival games product or console – like the Wii.

Bridgestone has stated that Lambert played a tyre engineer in the advert, not Butler, “Mr Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer. Bridgestone denies that Kevin Butler appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial.”

What’s your take on the matter? Is Lambert’s appearance so synonymous with Butler that the two cannot be removed by association, or is this whole matter ridiculous? Share your thoughts below.

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21 Comments

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  1. Talkar

    Lambert != Kevin Butler

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Yoshi

    If you look carefully at his characteristics he’s clearing being inspired by the character of Butler AT LEAST

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Talkar

    Being inspired by something and actually being that is two very different things. I might be inspired by John Carmack, but i sure as hell is no John Carmack.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. helios

    and now he’s having a headache… he shouldn’t played with the rules of the contract at all.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. G1GAHURTZ

    CVG reports that the Bridgestone advert initially aired three days after Lambert’s contract with Sony expired

    So Sony was finished with Butler, anyway??

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    Well, I guess that Geico should be suing Sony then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVBD8A8pAtU

    Or Holiday Inn for that matter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oTvckORHDE

    This is the actor just doing his usual schtick. Sony doesn’t have a market on him. What the fuck do they expect him to do? Get plastic surgery?

    And thanks to this stupidity, they can probably say goodbye to this character ever being associated with their company again. This is typical Sony fashion of late. It’s like the company enjoys shooting itself in the foot. All the time. Over and over again.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. matirishhh

    I don’t get it. Why NINTENDO even bothered with hiring him?
    They have 100 times better character in their ranks = Reggie!
    http://download.gamezone.com/assets/old/screenshots/NEWS_Reggie_Clarifies_Comments_on_Indie_Devs.jpg
    He would even sell old socks.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. roadkill

    @1 +1

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Christopher Jack

    The advert aired 3 days after the contract, this means we could assume he was working with Bridgestone while he was still under contract. I don’t know though, how long does it normally take to put an commerical together?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. lexph3re

    @5&6 Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11.

    The following sentence shows they are not suing Lambert but suing Bridgstone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. They are suing them for reasonable causes. You guys are making it seem like it’s only against Lambert. It’s not, it’s against companies that exploited an image of a character using an actor that was under contract.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. ManuOtaku

    Like i said in the other thread, the key thing here is that Sony needs to prove he was indeed portraying the kevin butler character without any shadow of doubt, which in my eyes is a very difficult thing to prove, because how can you separete the actor or person for the character he created with his body and manerisms?, i mean how can you specifically indicate which is the actor and which is the character, which also leads to another topic in itslef, the actor did put something of him on the character as well, therefore at some extent is also his creation, therefore it will be interesting to know if they are other precedents, legally speaking about characters created by actors an to which extent the actors hold some of the rights for that creation, not an easy thing, because you cannot separete the man from the character, because he did put something of him on the character.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Keivz

    This lawsuit is ridiculous. Bridgestone has it right. No further explanation necessary.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Christopher Jack

    I think any commercial having Lambert involved in video games he’ll automatically be portrayed as Kevin Butler. Just look at all the articles & videos circulating around the web stating that Butler was advertising the Wii- even before the court case came to our attention. Kind of like signing a Pepsi marketing deal only to be found drinking coca cola.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Ali

    He didn’t really pretend to be Butler. He said nothing . This pretty much shows how stupid Sony can be. And whats up with his contract ending ? Did they decide to stop putting him in front of he cameras ?

    So what do they want him to do ? Get a huge scar on his face ? Shave his head ? Kill himself ?

    Fuck off Sony…

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Joe Musashi

    Everyone commenting here and on this story anywhere in gaming proves a pertinent point: the likeness of the actor to the character is inseparable and that both are currently synonymous with a particular range of branded products. That recognition that all are displaying, knowingly or otherwise, is an significant factor here.

    Also I’m amazed to be amongst so many internet legal experts who don’t appear to have ever heard of a restrictive covenant clause.

    JM

    #15 2 years ago
  16. ManuOtaku

    #15 Joe i did thought the restrictive covenant clause were the bad dudes placing some barriers on halo ;)

    #16 2 years ago
  17. OlderGamer

    Sony has nothing to stand on here. Perhaps they should have retained Lamberts services if they felt so strongly about tieing his image to their brand.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    Disaster.

    I wonder how many stories like this it’s gonna take before Sony pays his legal costs in a “settlement”.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dragon246

    Dont worry, if sony case was that weak, then bridgestone wouldnt have gone through the trouble of editing the ad. They on strong ground.
    Read the eurogamer article before making some stupid false assumptions.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. woodrowebones

    This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. First off in no way shape or form do they insinuate or claim his character in the bridgestone ad to be “Kevin Butler”. He doesnt even behave in a similar manner to the Kevin Butler character but because people see the same person they just make that connection on their own. Lambert has been in tons of commercials and they could all be construed as Kevin Butler if you really wanted. Hell even in the show Scare Tactics that he was in a while back he could be said to have been the Kevin Butler character. Its his acting style. And when it all comes down to it how in any way did this hurt Sony? Do they think millions of mindless idiots see that commercial and say “Oh crap! The guy who played Kevin Butler is playing a Wii… I better sell all my Sony products and buy Nintendo!”. Let the guy work and make a living

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DSB

    @20 For some reason a bruised ego is a good enough excuse to bruise your brand for some corporations.

    I would’ve thought that Sony learned that lesson with Geohot.

    #21 2 years ago