$$ CHA CHING!! $$ Michael Jordan came out on top in this case. Defunct grocer Dominick’s has been held liable for the use of Jordan’s and name without his expressed permission. Jordan’s answer in court when asked if he’d allow the grocer to use his name, he made a statement in court saying ” I wouldn’t let Dominick’s use my identity for only $126,000″. Dominick’s now has to pay Michael Jordan $8.6M dollars for choosing to use Jordan’s name anyway in their store ads. Jordan stated he plans to donate the judgement earnings to Chicago charities.
A very expensive lesson to be learned about business!!
Read more as reported by the Chicago Tribune:
A delighted Michael Jordan said “it was never about the money” Friday night after a federal jury ordered the owners of the defunct supermarket chain Dominick’s to pay him $8.9 million for using his identity without permission in an advertisement.
Beaming outside the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse moments after the verdict was announced, the basketball legend added that he would give the award to charities in Chicago. “It was all just about protecting my name and my likeness,” he said.
Lawyers for Dominick’s owner, Safeway, had argued that it should pay just $126,900 for using Jordan’s identity without permission in a 2009 ad for its Rancher’s Reserve steaks in a special issue of Sports Illustrated commemorating Jordan’s elevation to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
But after deliberating for more than six hours at the end of a weeklong trial, the jury came up with a number Friday night that was far closer to what Jordan asked for — $10 million.
Jordan clasped the hand of one of his attorneys, Fred Sperling, as the verdict was announced Friday.
“It is my name, and I’ve worked hard for it for 30-something years, and I’m not just going to let someone take it,” he said outside the courthouse.
“It’s not the type of court I like to win at,” he added, referring to his all-star career with the Chicago Bulls. “But unfortunately we ended up in this court, and I’m very happy with the result.”
The verdict comes at the end of a hard-fought, five-year court battle that provided fresh insights into how Jordan built his name into a marketing juggernaut and saw a judge previously assigned to the case describe Jordan’s demands as “greedy.”
Before the case even went to trial, the court had decided that Dominick’s was liable for running the ad without Jordan’s permission. That meant jurors only had to decide how much Safeway should pay.
During closing arguments, Sperling argued that Jordan had earned the right to demand astronomical sums from his sponsors by having the “fiercest work ethic anyone’s ever had.”
Sperling gestured to Jordan in the courtroom and said that Chicagoans “got to watch him soar like nobody else ever has.”
“Companies want to associate themselves with that, and they want to do that because of who he is, a man of unquestioned integrity,” he added, telling jurors that the $100 million Jordan made in endorsements last year was more than he made from playing basketball “in the entirety of his career.”
“That doesn’t just happen by accident,” Sperling said. “It happens by implementing a carefully planned marketing strategy.”
Source: Chicago Tribune