Muhammad Ali’s Estate Sued Fox
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 10/10/2017, 12:14 p.m.
Muhammad Ali Enterprises, a unit of New York brand licensing and development firm Authentic Brands Group, filed a complaint Tuesday (Oct. 10) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeking more than $30 million from Fox Broadcasting, citing it was owed money because the 21st Century Fox-owned unit used an unauthorized representation of Ali in a three-minute promotional pre-game video before the start of Super Bowl LI earlier this year, reports Variety. Muhammad Ali says it owns the trademark rights, copyrights, rights of publicity and all other intellectual property rights related to Ali. “Fox obtained great value by using Muhammad Ali to promote itself. It should pay for what it took,” said Frederick Sperling, an attorney with Schiff Hardin who is lead counsel for Muhammad Ali Enterprises. The law firm has prevailed in a case concerning a similar matter, winning a jury verdict of $8.9 million for the unauthorized use of Michael Jordan’s identity in a limited distribution of a commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated. It is also prosecuting a case against Samsung for the unauthorized use of the identity of the former soccer player Pele in an ad promoting Samsung and its products. The case charges Fox used Muhammad Ali’s name, image and likeness as the centerpiece of a three-minute promotional video for its broadcast of the Super Bowl would be worth $30 million if it had been sold to advertisers, claims the lawsuit. Ali died in 2016.