The Oscar-winning actress and TV personality filed a lawsuit against 100 individuals involved in the “celebrity endorsement theft industry,” which has used their names, images and likeness to promote products in the beauty industry without their consent, according to court documents filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday.
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“Although each of them, individually and through her representatives, has attempted to stop these illegal activities, the very nature of the opaque and incestuous celebrity endorsement theft industry makes that extremely difficult — these companies change names frequently, merge in and out of entities formed in states that allow for secrecy, operate web sites that pop up and disappear overnight and generally do everything possible to ‘stay one step ahead of the sheriff.’”
Because of the elusiveness of the industry, Bullock and DeGeneres are suing “unnamed defendants Does 1 through 100” and anticipate unearthing these individuals through the legal proceedings.
The lawsuit names the victims of the false endorsements as the celebrities, whose images and names are used without their consent, and the customers who are scammed into purchasing a product because of the celebrity endorsement. Court documents also list a number of beauty brands that promote these false endorsements, including Christie Brinkley Authentic Skin Care, Révive Skincare, BioDerm Rx, Alessa and Glovella, among others.
Court documents state that the false celebrity endorsements are in violation of California Civil Code 3344 — the use of an individual’s name, photo or likeness in advertising without consent — violation of common law right of publicity and the unfair competition law.
Bullock and DeGeneres are demanding payment for damages caused by the false celebrity endorsements, the disgorgement of profits made from the endorsements and a permanent injunction that prohibits the individuals from using their names or images in any future endorsements.
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