Sony sues over Kevin Butler character

PlayStation maker files lawsuit against Bridgestone and ad agency Wildcat Creek over ad in which faux executive Butler was shown playing Wii.

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Sony is suing over one of its own--albeit fake--executives. VentureBeat reports that the PlayStation maker has filed a lawsuit against tire manufacturer Bridgestone and ad agency Wildcat Creek over the use of its faux PlayStation executive Kevin Butler.

Butler is in trouble for playing Mario Kart, it seems. Image credit: VentureBeat

Butler, who is played by actor Jerry Lambert, has portrayed a range of fictional characters in numerous PlayStation product advertisements for years. However, Lambert recently appeared in a Bridgestone commercial during which he was shown playing Mario Kart Wii from PlayStation competitor Nintendo.

Sony's suit claims Bridgestone's use of the Kevin Butler character is a misrepresentation of Sony intellectual property and in fact has caused the publisher damages.

"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," reads a line from a statement provided to VentureBeat. "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."

Discussion

325 comments
korisnik666
korisnik666

Wtf, they used Kevin for a Nintendo ad? Nobody would be caught dead playing nintendo, except 10 year olds and people who don't know any better.

fadzli83
fadzli83

To all anti-Sony : Don't be freaking naive . The first time i saw the ad , i was like "Huh ?? Isn't that the Sony guy ? What's he doing playing a Wii game in a commercial ? I was honestly confused because the actor really look and spoke like the Sony guy. You can't get an actor to act as Reggie Fils-Aime playing PS3 games in an ad then say oh , it's just an actor , it's not really Reggie. That's misrepresentation !!! The advertising firm who handled the commercial should have known better 

CincoToes
CincoToes

Sony doesn't understand the difference between a character and an actor now? Wtf?

super_voltron
super_voltron

I wanna see kevin Butler and Reggie get into a huge metrix revolutions style final battle

Chatch09
Chatch09

Is Sony really that desperate for money?

lifemeister
lifemeister

Sony likes to sue like crazy.  Maybe it's time to focus more on games.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

People wonder why Im reluctant to buy a Playstation product.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

They don't have a case, he's not portraying the character in anyway.  He's portraying a worker for bridgestone, i hope he milks them for a few 100 mill in a counter suit. 

Takeno456
Takeno456

Another great lawsuit filled day in corporate-land.

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

Guys this is nothing new. Do you know you cant play/sing happy birthday on tv without permission or paying for it. When Conan moved to TBS he couldn't bring any of his characters or sketches b/c NBC owns them. Same thing happened to Letterman when he went to CBS. I dont agree with any of it, its complete bullshit. but its fun to watch....... as their palaces burn. . . .

MXVIII
MXVIII

This isnt exactly new. Lawsuits have been going on like this forever. Jerry Lambert's portrayal of Butler belongs to Sony. Its like seeing crash bandicoot in super mario kart. Or King Koopa in Sony's Battle Royale. It just cant happen. Jerry Lambert is in advetising, which is not the job to be a one trick pony. Its going to get him in a lot of trouble with any other company that works with him. Plus if all he does is a Butler like character nobody is going to hire him anyway. This if anything is a much needed wake up call for Lambert, that he needs to do something original from now on.

OldJames420
OldJames420

this lawsuit isn't dumb at all, and sony has a good chance of winning it. just because the actor doesn't have a name tag that says "executive butler" on it, doesn't mean that he's not suppose to be representing him. why else would they pick him specifically to play the wii console? the courts are going to look at the intent of his presence, which is pretty fucking obvious. 

if duncan doughnuts has a commercial where master cheif is shotgunning a small italian plumber with a mustache, in the face, i'm pretty sure nintendo would have a problem with that.

yeah, that analogy was kinda weak, but you get the point

 

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Sony won't win this lawsuit. Kevin Butler the character is not mentioned in the ad. Playing Nintendo Mart kart since it is racing themed. Sort of goes with Bridgestone tire.

Different ad, different product same actor.

SeAzhrei
SeAzhrei

Crappy hardware, crappy software, crappy lawyers. Sony.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

This lawsuit seems pretty dumb unless the guy signed a non-compete clause.  "Kevin Butler" is just the actor wearing standard business attire. Surely they aren't suggesting that anytime the actor wears business attire he's infringing on the Kevin Butler character.

 

It's like saying anytime Shia Lebouf wears jeans and a t-shirt in a movie, he's infringing on the character he played in Transformers.

buying1999
buying1999

Awwww...poor over priced internet ready blu ray player manufacturer got their their tail pinched. OUCH

 

The Xbox 360 is the BEST console EVER made. --John Carmack

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

What?! I didn't realise Sony owned Nintendo! I'm going to buy a wii! Thank god for the likeness of Kevin Butler being used to advertise this product, I almost thought it was worth ignoring completely.

franzito
franzito

I've had a hard time believing the original Kevin Butler wouldn't play Wii...

RCBreaker
RCBreaker

Is it stated in the commercial that the guy he plays is named Kevin Butler? Because I'm Sony can't sue him for doing work for other companies.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Just brilliant.

 

How you can sue someone for playing a fictional lookalike character is just hilarious.  Hilarious and also completely ridiculous.

 

The world has actually gone mental.

 

I mean seriously.. Who actually gives one? :/

obsequies
obsequies

commercials with him suck balls 

Orgil220
Orgil220

This guy is my BITCH!! - (Sony)

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

It's funny that hardly anyone would have taken that much notice of a crappy advert, but now that they're suing it'll get a lot more attention and probably help advertise Nintendo... Well played Sony epic fail.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

What? We can sue people for stupid stuff like thi.....aww who am I kidding, not really that surprising something this stupid is happening. Next week they'll sue the actor for continuing to use his face in other ads...

BlackLense
BlackLense

Sony should sue PS3 gamers that play XBOX too. See the point?

tightwad34
tightwad34

This is so fucking retarted. I really hope this is the very last course of action Sony could possibly take.

steelmouth
steelmouth

its like every one sony does business with is trying to kick sony in the nuts first it was that band that give its check from sony to anonymous and now Kevin Butler plays the Wii SMDFH

Skyrim25
Skyrim25

They cant sue him if its not in his contract to not be seen playing any Wii or Xbox on TV. I think that Sony will lose this one.

Tvirus_Strain
Tvirus_Strain

Hey SONY. Concentrate on making a good next gen system back with some quality software. Butler isn't exactly a marketing ace card.

zico_mahilary
zico_mahilary

LOL... is this Kelvin Butler character supposed to be sony's slave?

DrKill09
DrKill09

To be honest, he wasn't really playing the Kevin Buttler character in the ad.  I saw it.  He didn't speak or act the same.  He simply looked the same.

megakick
megakick

Sony's but still hurt becuase Atari Teenage Riot Tricked them to help help Anonymous

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

Sad thing is, no one probably would have noticed if Sony hadn't pointed it out...

Granpire
Granpire

Actually, it seems Jerry Lambert owns the advertising company that made the ad, Wildcat Creek, Inc. He's more at fault than it seems...

 

Normally, I wouldn't side with Sony, but if Jerry Lambert portrayed himself (personally casted, since he owns Wildcat Creek) as endorsing the Wii, that's stepping on a legal minefield.

 

Obviously, this spells the end of Kevin Butler, though. I wonder if Sony knew by sueing Bridestone and Wildcat Creek, they were actually sueing Lambert?

super_voltron
super_voltron

 @OurSin-360

 well I cn see your point but i also see sony's point,  his image has become so iconic that when people see him they think sony.  it would be like the actor who does the voice for mario showing up in a jet ski commercial playing god of war and then saying "it's a me kratos" in the mario voice. sure he's not using any mario related content. but the voice has become so iconic when people think of it they think nintendo 

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @bubba_1988 Oh and if you think thats crazy. Motorola has to pay Lucas for the use of the term Droid. 

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @bubba_1988 Yeah the girl scouts of america got sued for singing happy birthday. 

Yalaa1
Yalaa1

 @OldJames420  SEGA used to mock Mario Kart, Super Nintendo & Nintendo in general all the time in their commercials and Nintendo didn't do a damn thing about it, they just proved to the fans that SEGA was cool ( in the Genesis days) but mostly talk.

OldJames420
OldJames420

 @Megavideogamer if the same actor does a commercial for hemroids, sony couldn't make a case against it because there would be no reason to assume that he's "executive butler" with hemroids. but, that guy playing a nintendo console, then looking surprised when someone walks in on him playing, as if he's been caught doing something he's not suppose to, leads people to believe that he is representing something that sony owns.....THE BUTLER

 

xian117
xian117

 @BlackLense

 Sony isn't suing the actor. They are suing Bridgestone and the ad agency.

steelmouth
steelmouth

 @DrKill09 lol i imagine it would be hard not to look the same as its the same guy

simon1812
simon1812

Granpire oh I think they know, and love the irony of it.

Temperedelm
Temperedelm

 @super_voltron  

The actor may be well known for Sony commercials but that does not give them ownership over him. Your Mario voice analogy was a bit off, with the voice you have drawn a clear and direct link to Mario (It's a me Kratos(This is a common phrase associated with Mario)) which would make a clear cut infringement case, in the Bridgestone commercial the issue is Sony believing an actor they have used for their commercials should not be aloud to touch a product they are competing with.

A more correct analogy would be William Shatner making a guest appearance on any science fiction show.

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

 @MXVIII That's messed up. Here's something for you, copy righting genes so companies can literally own plants and animals. They are already doing this with soy, check out the movie food inc if you haven't already seen it.

MXVIII
MXVIII

 @bubba_1988 Yep heard of it. A farmer in Canada had to destroy his entire crop because they crossbred with patented genetic seeds that infested his farm after one of the trucks crashed by his property. Now they want to genetically create Sterile plants, so that farmers will have to keep buying new seeds from the company, instead of just keeping the seeds from their produce.