"GM wins Einstein ad lawsuit..."
October 18th, 2012
The Los Angeles Times
General Motors is winning the nerd wars.
Earlier this week, it prevailed against Hebrew University of Jerusalem in a lawsuit over the use of the image of Albert Einstein in a People magazine advertisement in 2009.
According to the Detroit News, the Einstein ad for the GMC Terrain SUV depicted the face of the famous physicist on top of a fit, muscular man with the line, "Ideas are sexy too."
The Israeli university owns Einstein's publicity rights and sued the automaker. But U.S. District Judge Howard Matz ruled Monday that Einstein is perhaps the ultimate public figure.
Matz wrote that Einstein is "the symbol and embodiment of genius. His persona has become thoroughly ingrained in our cultural heritage. Now, nearly 60 years after his death, that persona should be freely available to those who seek to appropriate it as part of their own expression, even in tasteless ads."
GM had said that it believed that the Leo Burnett agency that worked on the advertisement had purchased a legitimate license to the image from Getty Images. The automaker declined to comment on the resolution of the lawsuit.