Friday, January 6, 2012

Apple sues Tandy Cheung and his Communist Chinese action figure firm for Steve Jobs rip-off

Okay, so Apple is suing a communist Chinese company in Beijing and its owner Tandy Cheung for making and selling action doll figures of Sir Steve Jobs who ascended to Buddhist last year, after a long life as an action-figure visionary entrepreneur. The photo below show the apple without a bite in it; a second apple for sale in the package actually DOES have a bite taken out of  it (by whom we don't know)!

The Commie Chinese company In Icons has created what some are calling an "eerily realistic" 12-inch action
figure of Sir Jobs. The 1:6 scale model comes with the clothes and
accessories such as the black faux turtleneck, blue jeans and

So we're making a list and checking it twice:

-One realistic head sculpture; 2 pairs of glasses

-One highly articulated body ; 3 pairs of hands

-One black turtleneck ; 1 pair of blue jeans

-One black leather belt ; 1 chair (wood + metal)

-One pair of black socks ; sneaker

-Two apples (1 with a bite in it.)

-One piece of "ONE MORE THING” hard backdrop

-Retail Price : US$100 (Without shipping, which will cost another arm and a leg)
For wholesale inquiries, please contact the team at

The doll is being sold in a ''box'' that looks very much like American writer Walter Isaacson's "Steve
Jobs" biography cover, and comes with a chair, a "One More Thing..."
backdrop, as well as two red apples, including one with a bite in it.

Don't blink: The doll doesn't blink either.

Apple sees this as copyright infringement, even after death and a
huge lawsuit is expected. Put your white Hong Kong judicial wigs on, folks! This one's going to be a rollercoast ride of epic proportons!

Apple already told Communist-funded ''In Icons'' that using Apple's logo or products, or Jobs'
name or appearance, is a "criminal offense."

Tandy Cheung, the entrepreneur behind In Icons told TechEye that he was an
Apple fanboy and there are a lot of people like him who want to have
Jobs' action figure. Cheung already spoke with several white-wigged lawyers from Hong Kong who told him that he
wasn't in violation of any laws in Commie China unless he decided to brand any of his designs with Apple products or logos.

He told David Smith of IB Times that Steve Jobs was not an actor, he's just a
celebrity, and that therefore there is no copyright protection for a normal person.

As Apple fanboys and fangirls know, Apple has killed off several other attempts to create a Steve Jobs
doll. Apple once wrote strong letters about copyright and trademark
protection to M.I.C, which then re-released the action figurine in January 2011,
redressing Sir Jobs as a Japanesey ninja, complete with a black belt,
mask and ninja stars. The company called the doll "Pineapple CEO."

Case still open. Case not closed.

According to Dave Smith, ''while Apple's copyright infringement claims are questionable, attorneys believe a Steve Jobs action figure released after his death violates the "right of publicity," which is a state law that protects one's image, voice, photograph, identity or signature from being used commercially without consent. Furthermore, California's Celebrity Rights Act in 1985 protects a celebrity's personality rights up to 70 years after their death.''

"[Jobs's estate] has every right to enforce this," Lawrence Townsend told Smith in an email interview. Townsend is an attorney with IP firm Owen, Wickersham and Erickson, based in San Francisco. "I expect there will be a lawsuit to follow."

This In Icons action doll is in bad taste, some say, and use of a Steve Jobs lookalike is a violation of Apple’s policy on third-party promotions.

Accordign to Nicole Martinelli, Apple recently started enforcing its guidelines for third-party giveaways — namely forbidding all iPad freebies. The guidelines (.PDF here and here) were set out in April 2010, but Apple is only going after companies who have not adopted them correctly now, according to Martinelli.

BUT: Remember re this Steve Jobs action figure that Apple is trying to force legally off the market, insinuating it owns Steve Jobs’s likeness?

Turns out that it looks like in most states, Apple can’t really do nada to prevent the sale of In Icon's Steve Jobs doll. As it turns out, even if Apple did own Steve Jobs’s likeness, that would only be valid in most USA states while Jobs was alive. Now that he’s dead as a doornail, though, almost anyone can profit off of his likeness.

Paid Content explains:

Apple’s legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people. Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do not survive beyond the grave in most places.

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.

But in New York and most other places, there is no protection at all. This was confirmed five years when a court in the state found that no one had the exclusive right to market Marilyn Monroe. Efforts to change the law have so far failed.

What this means is that Apple’s warning about the doll is an empty threat in most places. It may not even be able to stop others from using the name Steve Jobs as, surprisingly, the term does not appear on the company’s long list of registered trademarks. A company spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

So no reason to pay gigantic mark-ups for one of these figures on eBay. Apple’s unlikely to be able to stop commie Cheung, and you’ll be able to get one come February for just $100, unless you live in one of these states: Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

1 comment:

The Geeks said...

hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)