Sony is suing both Bridgestone Tires and its advertising company Wildcat Creek over the alleged use of the Kevin Butler character made famous by the Japanese tech giant.
For those not aware of Kevin Butler, he was the star of a long series of PlayStation commercials which pegged him as a cheesy-yet-officious Sony executive in charge of countless different departments. Butler was portrayed by actor Jerry Lambert, who has now popped up in ads for Bridgestone, one of which is embedded below.
Sony has issued a statement over the lawsuit to GamesBeat, which reads:
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.
The problem I see here is that at no time in the new ads is Lambert referred to as Kevin Butler. So how can Sony prove that it’s the Kevin Butler character and not either just Lambert himself or a new slightly-different-but-only-just character he’s since created? I’ll leave that to the expensive lawyers to sort out.