Sony Sues Kevin Butler Over Bridgestone Ad

October 8, 2012

Wait, what? Looks like Kevin Butler’s next role will be as the VP of Fired, as Sony’s American branch has filed a lawsuit against the actor who potrays him, as well as his advertising agency. Jerry Lambert, who has appeared in many PlayStation commercials over the past few years, has landed himself in hot water after appearing in a new advertisement for Bridgestone Tyres.

In the advertisment (which has since been edited to remove him), Lambert played the role of a Bridgestone employee who was enjoying a game of Mario Kart Wii as part of a new Bridgestone promotion. You can view a screenshot from the original ad above. This apparently breaches Lambert’s contract with Sony, who own the Kevin Butler character. Both Wildcat Creek Inc (Lambert’s company) and Bridgestone have been targeted by Sony, who released an official statement earlier today:

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.

While the exact nature of Lambert’s contract with Sony is unknown, the Lanham Act deals with copyright infringement, and Sony clearly believe that they have a strong case. Lambert never identified himself as Kevin Butler during the ad, although his appearance certainly resembles the character. The suit against both parties is ongoing, and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.