Brando Trustees Sue Harley-Davidson Over Biker Boot

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May 17, 2011 | 10:15pm EST

Marlon Brando’s estate executors have filed suit against bosses at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company for licensing boots named after the movie icon – without their permission.
The Brando Enterprises executives, headed up by the actor’s longtime friend Mike Medavoy, claim the Harley-Davidson Brando boot line infringes upon and misappropriates Brando’s name.

In the suit, filed on Tuesday, Medavoy and his two fellow trustees are seeking to recover damages caused by the sales and marketing of the unlicensed boot.

The movie mogul says, “The Marlon Brando name is among the most recognised 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.”

The estate’s lawyer, Jeffrey Abrams, adds, “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.”