Chinese toy-maker’s Steve Jobs action figure legal to sell in most U.S. states

“Apple’s lawyers have a fearsome reputation for defending the company’s intellectual property. But it sure looks like they’re bluffing in the controversy over a new Steve Jobs doll,” Jeff Roberts reports for paidContent.

“A UK newspaper caused a stir yesterday when it reported that Apple had threatened legal action against a Chinese company that plans to sell an eerie replica of its late founder starting next month,” Roberts reports. “The Daily Telegraph said Apple claims to own rights to Jobs’ likeness.”

Roberts reports, “But there is a huge problem here — Apple’s legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people. Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do not survive beyond the grave in most places… Only about a dozen states [Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma] recognize image rights after death. Oddly, it is Indiana that has the strongest protection, restricting commercial use of a person’s image for 100 years after their passing.”

In Icons Steve Jobs action figure
In Icons' Steve Jobs action figure

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple threatens Chinese toy manufacturer with legal action over Steve Jobs action figure – January 5, 2012


    1. Just remember, BLN is the same blowhard who is obsessed with the lack of a 5″ screen on the iPhone4S and who has incessantly predicted that the iPhone4s would totally flop as a new Apple product. He has never admitted how wrong he was and continues to spread his BS daily on MDN. He is best ignored.

      1. Does America = the world? No. North America makes up 25% at best of total iPhone sales worldwide. Just because it’s a hit here doesn’t mean it’ll translate to sales worldwide. European iPhone sales aren’t taking off like a rocket. So we’ll see what the numbers are eventually.

  1. I can see the Jobs Estate having a gripe on this, but not so much Apple The Company. What if it was an action figure of John Sculley, should Apple The Company get involved in that?

  2. I’d buy one, but it doesn’t come with accessories – I mean, an action figure’s gotta have some tools! He should come with an iPad, at least. And preferably with an MBA, iPhone, and Keynote clicker as well!

    Now that I’m thinking about it, doesn’t every action figure need a team? There should be a Jony Ive figure, as well as Tim Cook and Phil Schiller, minimum. They need to do this right.

  3. I believe the pictures are of a prototype. I’m wondering if the production models can retain the detail and realism of this one. If so, I definitely would purchase one as a collector’s item. Could Apple stop them from making replicas of their products as accessories? That would be a shame if additional items weren’t available.

  4. Apple’s threats are not bogus, because doll set contains bitten apple, which is Apple’s trade mark.

    Also, likeness is very well protected for dead people. Ask, for example, Michael Jackson company, which shut down tens of non licensed use of late genius’ likeness in recent couple of years and earned almost $400 million on exploiting that likeness.

    So if Jobs arranged that Apple can deal with any products that use his likeness — and he probably did that since Apple shut down similar doll business in 2010 — then Apple’s threats are perfectly legal and sound.

      1. Friday, January 6, 2012 – 9:18 am · Reply

        Apparently. He has made many breakthroughs in several areas of culture and society, hundreds of absolute worldwide records, and, with his versatility, was like twenty eight people in one.

  5. If the action figures do have this facial realism, then it’s a compliment. I am wondering, how is different from a year ago another company was introducing a bobble head of Steve and somehow Apple was able to get it pulled off the market though a few did go out. Those few were getting a hefty price on eBay. I just think Steve Jobs’ estate should be more interested than Apple about this matter.

  6. Who cares. Buy the figure of a child abandoner. Was that before or after he used LSD? And why doesn’t his estate repay Woz the money he took? Or were his billions buried with him in the cemetery?

  7. I’ll buy one and set it up in my street facing window. The Jobs action figure will be posed whacking the head of a mole sticking it’s head out of the ground…

    that would complement nicely my mod of the Ballmer action figure paired with the Godzilla body posed breathing fire and throwing a chair…

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