If you’ve watched a decent amount of television over the last few years, then you probably remember seeing commercials from Sony where an executive named “Kevin Butler” will arrogantly shill the next big thing coming out of Sony. These commercials have been pretty successful, but it appears that we may have seen the last of them as Sony is suing Jerry Lambert, the man who plays Kevin Butler. Sony is saying that Mr. Lambert violated Sony’s intellectual property by basically playing Kevin Butler in a non-Sony commercial.
Sony had this to say about the lawsuit:
Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony.
Earlier this year Mr. Lambert did commercials for Bridgestone as part of their “Game On” promotion, where customers could get either a $70 American Express gift card or a Nintendo Wii. In the commercials he was acting in a manner similar to the Kevin Butler character, and it shows him playing on a Wii console. My guess is that it was him playing on the Wii that set Sony off, because at that point he’s directly promoting the competition’s product.