Jeff Dunham has done a lot of voices over the years, but today the superstar ventriloquist is in the role of plaintiff to pull the plug on unauthorized use of his name and characters to sell coronavirus protective gear and other merchandise.
“This case is simple and the facts are indisputable: Defendants are marketing, advertising, promoting, manufacturing, selling, and profiting off of consumer products, including COVID-19 face masks and t-shirts, that clearly incorporate and exploit the world-famous ventriloquism characters that Plaintiff Jeff Dunham spent years to develop, which are protected by registered copyrights and trademarks owned by the Plaintiff, and
which contain protectable trade dress,” says the multi-million copyright infringement complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court against Ooshirts, Ince and its owner Raymond Lei (READ IT HERE).
Dunham is seeking “statutory damages of no less than $150,000 per registered copyright and no less than $2 Million per registered trademark” plus $10 million in “general and special damages” and all the profits from the offenders.
“To add insult to injury, in order to attract consumers to their websites and help sell their counterfeit products, Defendants have exploited the name, photograph, image and/or likeness of Jeff Dunham himself, which has caused significant consumer confusion and led fans of the Plaintiff to ask him whether he was improperly trying to profit off of the COVID-19 pandemic by selling these COVID-19 products,” the multi-claim filing by Hollywood heavyweight lawyer Marty Singer for Dunham adds. “This confusion has caused, and continues to cause, great harm to Plaintiff’s reputation and brand,” the 11-claim jury trial seeking suit proclaims.
Having previously tried to stop Lei’s outlets from exploiting his image and work before, Dunham promises to use the millions , if and when he eventually gets a win in court.
“My wife and I intend to use proceeds recovered in this lawsuit to add to our continued contributions to charities benefiting COVID-19 relief efforts,” Dunham told Deadline Thursday.
Having been sued in the past by HBO and Atari, Ooshirts, Inc and Lei did not respond to request for comment from Deadline.
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