The anchor of Fox Report Weekend filed suit last August against Hasbro for allegedly violating her likeness and causing her emotional distress via a toy included in Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop product line. In reaction, Hasbroargued in a motion to dismiss that its hamster toy looked nothing like the plaintiff and that “name-sameness is not enough to state a claim for a violation of one’s right of publicity.”
U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden disagrees.
In an opinion released on Thursday, she writes, “In the specialized context of Hasbro’s successful toy line ‘world,’ in which the hamster is admittedly ‘a character’ designed to be played with, Faulkner’s allegation that this doll bears her unusual celebrity name sufficiently pleads a violation of the right of publicity.”
Faulkner gets past the pleading stage in part because the judge notes that the cited past publicity right disputes were decided at the summary judgment phase — where contentions of fact come into play.
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter