Marlon Brando estate sues Harley-Davidson

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The estate of actor Marlon Brando has issued a lawsuit against Harley-Davidson over the unlicensed use of the Brando name on a line of motorcycle boots.

Brando died in 2004 but his estate and name are still protected by a company called Brando Enterprises which has to approve any use of the name on products sold.

A press release states: “The suit 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.

"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.

"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.”

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter