Apple issues legal threat to manufacturer of 12-inch Steve Jobs action figure

Thu, Jan 5, 2012

Legal, News

Chinese manufacturer In Icon recently created a 12-inch Steve Jobs action figure that looks incredibly similar to Jobs himself. With no detail overlooked, the figurine showcases Jobs in his iconic black turtleneck, Levi blue jeans, circular glasses, and New Balance sneakers. It also comes with two Apples (one of which has a bite taken out of it) and a “One more thing” backdrop.

In Icon is tentatively planning to release the figurines in February of this year, but not surprisingly, they’re running into resistance from Apple’s legal department which has reportedly threatened to sue the company if they take their product to market.

Apple, for its part, claims that it owns the likeness rights to Steve Jobs and wrote a letter to In Icon saying that “any toy that resembles the technology company’s logo, person’s name, appearance or likeness of its products is a criminal offense.”

The Telegraph, meanwhile, relays that In Icon’s Tandy Cheung told ABC News that the company has no plans to cease production, arguing that they can’t copyright Steve Jobs’ appearance.

Apple can do anything they like. I will not stop, we already started production…Steve Jobs is not an actor, he’s just a celebrity… There is no copyright protection for a normal person… Steve Jobs is not a product… so I don’t think Apple has the copyright of him.

If this all sounds familiar, remember that Apple issued a similar legal threat to MIC Gadget in November 2010 that forced the company to stop selling its own Steve Jobs action figure. Consequently, users who were able to purchase the Jobsian action figure before it was discontinued were able to resell it on eBay for as much as $2500.

While we’re not sure of the specifics mentioned in Apple’s letter to In Icon, it’s worth nothing that Apple’s legal threat to MIC Gadget read in part:

Unauthorized use of a person’s name and/or likeness constitutes a violation of California Civil Code Section 3344, which prohibits the use of any person’s name, photograph or likeness in a product without that person’s prior consent…”





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