Marlon Brando Estate Files Suit Against Harley-Davidson

You keep needlin' me, if I want to, I'm gonna take this joint apart

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Brando Enterprises, an operating entity that protects the Marlon Brando brand on behalf of the actor’s family, has filed a lawsuit against Harley-Davidson. The suit alleges Harley-Davidson used the legendary actor’s name without a license for a leather riding boot called “The Brando”.

“It is interesting that Harley-Davidson – a company that is vigorously protective of its own brand – would seek to exploit an iconic property without benefit of a licensing agreement,” says  Jeffrey I. Abrams, the licesning attorney who filed the suit. “The flagrant disregard for the law by Harley-Davidson cannot be tolerated. It is our mission to protect the Marlon Brando name and we will pursue any company or individual who infringes on these rights meant to benefit the Brando family.”

Harley-Davidson no longer offers boots called “The Brando”,  though some online retailers still sell Harley-Davidson Brando boots (pictured to the right).

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop Harley-Davidson from using the Brando name. The suit also seeks unspecified damages for the sales and marketing of unlicensed “Brando” boots.

Let’s not forget the important thing though: Brando was more of a Triumph man, riding his own personal 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T for the classic biker film “The Wild One”.

View the full press release after the jump.

LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwire – May 17, 2011) – Brando Enterprises has filed a lawsuit against Harley-Davidson Motor Company for the unlicensed use of the Brando name in connection with a line of boots which Harley-Davidson calls “The Brando.” The suit, which was filed by entertainment and licensing attorney Jeffrey I. Abrams, Esq. of Los Angeles-based Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP, seeks an injunction to stop Harley-Davidson from infringing and misappropriating the Brando name and to recover damages caused by the sales and marketing of the unlicensed “Brando” boot.

Established in part to protect the Marlon Brando name, likeness and personality on behalf of the Brando family, Brando Enterprises is overseen by Brando Trust co-trustees Mike Medavoy, Chairman of Phoenix Entertainment, accountant and business manager Larry Dressler and Avra Douglas, a family friend. Filed today, the lawsuit reflects the most recent infringement of Brando intellectual property rights by a company utilizing the Brando name without a license.

“The Marlon Brando name is among the most recognized in the world. Only a select few can transcend generations and Marlon Brando is in that rarified group of globally renowned icons. The entire licensing industry is fully aware of the importance attached to protecting a brand — not only from the perspective of the brand owner but also for the benefit of all licensees, retailers and consumers. Brando Enterprises has successfully achieved a number of high-profile licensing partnerships with a broad range of media and retail licensees — all within the specific parameters set forth by the actor himself. Marlon spent a lifetime protecting his brand and made it a priority that his name would continue to be protected on behalf of his family,” said the Brando Trust.

“It is interesting that Harley-Davidson — a company that is vigorously protective of its own brand — would seek to exploit an iconic property without benefit of a licensing agreement. The flagrant disregard for the law by Harley-Davidson cannot be tolerated. It is our mission to protect the Marlon Brando name and we will pursue any company or individual who infringes on these rights meant to benefit the Brando family,” said Abrams.

Brando Enterprises is represented for licensing by Brand Sense Partners, LLC.

About Brando Enterprises
Brando Enterprises is a an operating entity created by the Marlon Brando Living Trust to manage core business interests including Brando licensing activities, preservation and archiving of Brando memorabilia in preparation for future exploitation and film participation and represent the Brando Trust’s continuing commitment to maximizing opportunities on behalf of the beneficiaries according to Marlon’s wishes as set forth in his Trust documents. The Brando Trustees include motion picture producer and former studio executive Mike Medavoy, accountant and business management executive Larry Dressler and Avra Douglas, a close family friend who also served as an executive assistant and creative development executive with the famed actor.

About Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP:
Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin has distinguished itself as a significant legal presence in California and throughout Nevada for the past 35 years. Our attorneys in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Reno serve as full service counsel on a broad range of corporate, real estate, entertainment and litigation matters for local, regional and nationally recognized clients. The firm provides strategic legal counsel and a client-focused approach across multiple industries and business sectors.

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  • http://ourlittleadventures.com Adri

    Comparing this to the Triumph / McQueen thing …