Clint Eastwood Won After CBD Lawsuit Made Fake Claims, And It’ll Cost Company Millions
Celebrity endorsements can be enough to make or break a product. If a name that people trust is attached to a product, then people are going to have a natural feeling of trust for the product itself. This support is likely what led a CBD company to use Clint Eastwood’s likeness without his permission in a series of ads. It’s also what led Eastwood to sue the company, which has now resulted in a $6 million settlement in his favor.
Last summer, Cry Macho director Clint Eastwood filed two lawsuits in federal court against three manufacturers of CBD products. The lawsuits claimed false endorsement, trademark infringement, and violation of common law as they included quotes attributed to the Academy Award winning director and images that appeared to be from an interview he had given in which he supported these CBD products. However, he had never given such an interview.
As far as that lawsuit went, it was a pretty easy decision for Judge R. Gary Klausner to make. The defendant in the case, Lithuania based Mediatonas UAB failed to respond to the summons sent in March. As such, a default judgement was entered on behalf of Eastwood and Garrapata, the company that actually owns the rights to the actor/director’s likeness. In addition, the defendant will need to pay about $95,000 in attorney’s fees.
The judge did stop short of granting all requests on Clint Eastwood’s side, as claims of defamation were denied. According to the New York TImes, defamation “requires additional context to understand what CBD products are and why a person like Clint Eastwood would not endorse a marijuana-based product.” Ultimately, Eastwood’s side would have to show how being linked with CBD is defamation on its own, something they can’t necessarily do if there’s no trial.
This is certainly a big legal win for Clint Eastwood, and potentially several other celebrities who have had their likenesses used in similar ways. While it’s unclear just what sort of business is being done by the company that just got hit with a $6 million judgement, that number will likely still sting.
At the same time, considering that Mediatonas UAB is based in Lithuania, that the company never responded to the suit, and also did not respond to the New York Times when the paper asked for comment, one has to wonder just how easy collecting this judgement will actually be.
Which may very well have been part of the consideration when the decision was made to fabricate interviews with Clint Eastwood. Since we’re dealing with entities in other countries it won’t necessarily be that easy to collect, and so we might not have seen the end of this legal battle.
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