Friday, August 7, 2009

Johnny Depp Products

Dear Rich: Could I name products after the first or last name of the movie characters played by Johnny Depp? The Dear Rich Staff is going through the Johnny Depp playlist trying to figure out exactly what those products might be: Edward Scissorhands pruning shears? Ed Wood steadicam? Jack Sparrow dreadlock wax?  We assume Blow (parental warning) and Donnie Brasco (you have the right to remain silent) won't work. Whatever it is, if you're relying on consumers to connect Johnny (or Johnny as the movie character) with the product, it's probably a right of publicity violation. It could also lead to potential copyright and trademark  claims by the movie companies though you would probably be okay using public domain characters like John Dillinger, Ichabod Crane and Sir James Barrie.  The short answer is that any connection with Johnny that implies his association or endorsement is an invitation for a cease and desist letter. (And with that, we pull up the covers on Licensed Characters week and head back to normal programming.)