Damages Expert Opines on Unauthorized Use of Celebrity Likeness in Marketing Materials

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on September 6, 2017

Publicity Expert WitnessThis case involves a company in New Mexico that used the likeness of a widely-known celebrity in a number of online advertising campaigns for its product without the consent or knowledge of the celebrity. The company generated a significant number of sales through the direct marketing ad campaign, which featured an image of the celebrity along with text copy that implied an endorsement of the product from the popular figure. The celebrity brought suit against the company, and the question of how much the inclusion of the celebrity contributed to the sales driven by the campaign became central to the proceedings.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the relevant subject matter described in this case?
  • 2. Are you familiar with Right of Publicity laws?
  • 3. Please explain how you would go about evaluating damages for a case like this.

Expert Witness Response E-035492

I am very familiar with this type of case. I just recently coauthored a book on Right of Publicity, published by the ABA, and have a great understanding of the subject matter. In any case, there are multiple approaches to determining damages for a case of this nature. The specific approach(es) used would depend on: the state in which the issue resides, the relative celebrity of individual, length of use, specifics on how the name and likeness was used, etc. I am familiar and comfortable with a number of formulas to help determine the damages in this case. I have served as an expert on cases similar to this, and can evaluate damages to intangible assets.


Expert Bio

This expert currently works at an intellectual asset consulting firm specializing in trademark, patent and copyright licensing, valuations, and expert testimony. He has worked on branding infringement and Right of Publicity cases for celebrities on several occasions in the past. Additionally, he has published articles in industry magazines as well as a number of books on the topic.

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