While most companies cower in front of Apple's mighty battalion of lawyers, it turns out that Chinese toymaker In Icons -- the creator of the Steve Jobs action figure -- may be safe from Apple's legal wrath, according to a report.
PaidContent's Jeff Roberts, a staff writer and apparently a lawyer, reports that Apple's claims of infringing on intellectual property or Jobs' likeness are "bogus," because a person has only rights to their likeness in most states while alive. However, once dead, those rights are almost all gone.
Under American law, so-called “personality rights” exist only at the state level—there is no federal law. And only about a dozen states recognize image rights after death. Oddly, it is Indiana that has the strongest protection, restricting commercial use of a person’s image for 100 years after their passing.
Apparently the doll may have problems in several states: Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma, all of which have posthumous laws on the books. That's not great news for In Icons.
We wrote yesterday about the Jobs doll and questioned, unlike many other sources, if Apple indeed owned Jobs' likeness. A previous Jobs doll that was halted by Apple in 2010 was stopped while Jobs was still alive. His death in October makes those likeness rights a bit more ambiguous.