A lucrative prize incentive can be the engine for an exciting and socially beneficial innovation competition. Despite the good intentions of the organizer, a lot can go wrong even when the sponsor is a nonprofit. An innovation contest generally promotes the generation of ideas or prototypes for new advancements in an industry. We have worked with many entities that seek to encourage innovation through prize incentives. Such promotions can involve very large prizes, and they can engender a lot of press coverage. Regardless of whether the purpose of the contest is for commercial, educational, or social purposes, a company or organization can still end up in federal court if the contest is not properly structured and conducted.
Continue Reading Personavera v. CHIME: An Innovation Contest Goes Sour

Hollywood movie star Reese Witherspoon and her clothing line, Draper James, LLC, have found themselves the subjects of a public relations debacle, and now, a class action after running a promotion for teachers that has gone horribly wrong.

To read more about the implications of advertising and promotion rules and the impact of the California

Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”), the company behind popular video game “Fortnite,” has refused to stand down in its copyright infringement and breach of contract suit against a 14-year-old gamer. Fortnite has seen booming success as a free, online game in which players must simply consent to the Terms of Service to create an account.

The

A class action lawsuit against the developer of Candy Crush will continue in Illinois federal court. According to the complaint, Candy Crush, a popular mobile game, entices users into sharing the game with Facebook friends in exchange for free “lives” (or plays) only to have those lives promptly deleted.  The plaintiffs allege that the lives

Recent headlines about celebrities raise important issues that advertisers and advertising agencies need to think about in negotiating endorsement deals – an early exit strategy, a meaningful morals clause, and a well-defined exclusivity provision. These issues are often thought of as mere boilerplate that are easily deleted or compromised. And while such clauses are rarely used to terminate an agreement, when an advertiser is faced with the situation, the financial cost and impact on brand reputation highlights why such clauses, despite an agent’s protestations, should not be taken lightly in negotiations.
Continue Reading Celebrity Endorsements – The Devil Really is in the Detail

Actress Charlize Theron has settled a lawsuit brought against her by watchmaker Raymond Weil (RW) for breaching a contract to exclusively promote its watches. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed, but it came just more than a month after a federal judge in New York concluded that Theron had breached her agreement, and that Raymond Weil was entitled to prove to a jury that it sustained damages.

In 2005, Theron, who was named by Esquire Magazine as “The Sexiest Woman Alive,” signed an agreement to promote Raymond Weil’s “Shine” collection through advertising and by wearing the watches exclusively. However, during the contract term, she was photographed at a screening of a film produced by her production company wearing a Dior watch.

A photograph of Theron wearing the Dior watch made its way to Tourneau LLC, a major watch retailer and manufacturer, which published the photo in Tourneau Times, a publication the company distributes to high-spending customers. The caption under the photo read, “Charlize Theron wears Dior.”

Continue Reading Actress Charlize Theron Settles With Watchmaker