Multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Ariana Grande recently filed a lawsuit against the popular fashion retailer Forever 21 alleging its unauthorized use of her likeness, trademarks, and copyright material to create a false perception that Ms. Grande had endorsed Forever 21’s brand and merchandise. Ms. Grande’s complaint seeks $10 million for violating her right to publicity, among other causes of action, in response to Forever 21’s social media campaign which suggests Ms. Grande’s endorsement through a “strikingly similar” model. More on Ariana Grande’s lawsuit here.
It may come naturally to assume that the claims made by Ms. Grande are unique or limited to celebrities. But, whether or not you have networked any A-list celebrities to advertise or endorse your business or products, these issues are worth considering if you do any kind of advertisement for your business. All individuals have the right to control the commercial use of their name, likeness, voice, signature or other personal identifying traits. Any time you would like to use someone’s name or photograph in a commercial setting (advertising, social media posts, or other promotional activities or published content) it is important to consider any necessary steps to prevent inadvertent unauthorized use of that person’s name, picture, likeness, voice, etc. These efforts may include obtaining the person’s consent, a form of endorsement agreement, or disclosures in the advertisement or promotional material, depending on the scenario.
If you currently use social media platforms as a primary means of advertisement, publish advertisements online or in any print media, or are considering any form of promotion of your business and would like to discuss these issues or other concerns please contact SMP and one of our knowledgeable attorneys can assist you.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, advertisement, or solicitation of any kind. Please contact an SMP attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.
Smith, McDowell & Powell is proud to announce that Jason Smith, Brad McDowell and Jaclyn Powell have been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as top attorneys in Northern California! Jason and Jaclyn have now earned the “Rising Star” distinction for their fifth and fourth consecutive years respectively. Likewise, Brad McDowell has been honored as a “Super Lawyer” for his second year in a row, having previously been recognized as a “Rising Star” in 2013 and 2014.
The annual Super Lawyers list is compiled via a patented multi-phase selection process which includes conducting statewide surveys, analyzing peer reviews and performing independent research. This results in less than 5 percent of lawyers in California being named “Super Lawyers” and less than 2.5 percent as “Rising Stars” (i.e., attorneys who are 40 years-old or younger or have been practicing law for ten years or less). To learn more about the selection process, check out SuperLawyers.com, and be sure to check out the August 2017 issue of Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine to see the full list. Congratulations to all of those, past and present, that have been recognized as top lawyers in their field.
SMP Congratulates Newest Associate, Kimberly Van Spronsen
Smith, McDowell & Powell is proud to announce that former Senior Law Clerk, Kimberly Van Spronsen recently passed the California State BAR exam and has joined our growing list of associate attorneys. Kimberly first arrived at SMP in the spring of 2015 as a law clerk while attending McGeorge School of Law where she graduated with great distinction and was admitted to the Roger J. Traynor Honor Society for academic excellence. Since joining SMP, she has assisted in numerous legal matters including business transactions, corporate formations, estate planning, real estate transactions and more. Having grown up on a family-owned almond ranch, Kimberly has a deep appreciation for the efforts of small business owners and hopes to carry on the tradition of hard work and excellence throughout her legal career. The entire team at Smith, McDowell & Powell are excited to see Kimberly’s professional future unfold and have every confidence that she will continue to achieve great things. To read more about Kimberly, check out our website and this week’s Sacramento Business Journal as a person “on the move.”
SMP Announces Veteran Startup Program
November 11 is Veterans Day, and the attorneys at Smith, McDowell & Powell would like to show their appreciation all month long for active and retired military personnel by offering a new Veteran Startup Program. Veterans who enroll in this pro bono initiative during the month of November will receive a free attorney consultation, complimentary drafting and filing of various entity formation documents and general legal guidance to those starting a new business. By enrolling in this program, veterans will have the opportunity to discuss their business plan with the attorneys at Smith, McDowell & Powell and will work together to find a legal entity that fits their particular need. The only costs to program participants are the filing fees, taxes and related non attorney fee costs of forming a business in California.
This initiative is designed to help the men and women of our military achieve their business goals. Moreover, by helping our armed service members recognize entrepreneurial dreams, the entire business community benefits by cultivating small business growth. The attorneys at Smith, McDowell & Powell are looking forward to this opportunity to give back and show their gratitude and appreciation for all of the sacrifices made by our country’s military personnel. If you are interested in participating in and/or learning more about this program, please feel free to call our office at (916) 569-8100 or visit our website.
Smith, McDowell & Powell Make Top Lists in Superlawyers Magazine
In the August issue of Super Lawyers Magazine, three familiar names will be appearing on the annual top lists for 2016. Jason Smith, Brad McDowell and Jaclyn Powell were all recognized as outstanding attorneys in their fields of practice, with Jason and Jaclyn earning the “Rising Stars” distinction for the fourth and third consecutive years respectively, and Brad McDowell making the “Super Lawyer” list, having previously been named a “Rising Star” in 2013 and 2014.
These lists are compiled through a patented process which includes conducting statewide surveys, analyzing peer reviews and performing independent research. This results in no more than five percent of attorneys in each state making the Super Lawyers list, and 2.5 percent of attorneys who are 40 years-old or younger or who have been practicing law for less than ten years or less as being eligible for the Rising Star status. All three partners wish to thank all of their peers who nominated them for this recognition and would like to congratulate all of their fellow selectees. To learn more about Super Lawyers and to see which other Northern California attorneys made the list, click here.