Soccer star Pelé, the guy who made the bicycle kick popular, is suing Samsung in a Chicago court for using a photograph without his permission. Chicago Tribune first reported on the lawsuit and noted the close ties to a similar case between Michael Jordan and a supermarket chain that illegally used an image of the basketball player. Pelé is using Jordan’s lawyer.
Pelé, now 75 years old, is suing Samsung for using an image of him on a TV the Samsung-based company was advertising last fall. Here’s the weird thing, though: the Chicago Tribune said that Samsung didn’t actually use Pelé in its advertisement but, rather, a “look-alike” of Pelé. But, given the advertisement features two soccer players on a new curved-screen TV, one can see how the look-alike would certainly confuse consumers into believing Pelé had some sort of affiliation with Samsung.
Worse, it seems that Samsung actually wanted to use Pelé for an ad before it decided to bail on any sort of contract, probably because it had found someone cheaper that looked like him. Pelé wants Samsung to cough up $30 million, but might have a hard time getting the cash if he can’t prove consumers believed it was actually him in the ad.