Steve McQueen’s Children Sue Ferrari for Using His Name to Sell Cars
Who would ever think that naming a car after someone can get you sued for a combined USD3 million in damages? Just ask Ferrari.
Apparently, the Italian carmaker has been “busy” using Steve McQueen’s name for its special-edition model that McQueen’s family is now crying foul.
The lawsuit was filed by Chadwick McQueen, the late actor’s son and Molly McQueen, who is the granddaughter of the actor’s daughter, Terry McQueen. Both of them co-own Steve McQueen’s publicity and trademark rights.
According to them, Ferrari is marketing the brown California T named after the late actor without their consent.
“Ferrari’s vehicle, which is sold as ‘The McQueen,’ creates the false perception that the car has been authorized by the family and that its design and details make it an authentic ‘McQueen’ car, deserving of the price premium and value that accrues to licensed and authentic McQueen cars and products,” they said in their complaint.
The lawsuit also said that Ferrari changed its name to “The Actor” after they filed the lawsuit, but the company still continued to use McQueen’s resemblance on its marketing programs, even placing his photo inside its distributed brochures.
“Although Ferrari renamed the car in question ‘The Actor,’ Ferrari continues to reference Steve McQueen expressly on the Ferrari web page for ‘The Actor,’ and there can be no reasonable question as to which ‘Actor’ Ferrari is linking to the car,” they said.
They also added that their father’s name adds value, particularly when it comes to cars. For example, they pointed out how the 1970 Porsche 917K that appeared in his film “Le Mans” was auctioned off for over USD14 million in 2017.
Steve McQueen, who was called “The King of Cool,” had an “anti-hero” persona that emerged at the height of the 1960’s counterculture. His 1968 film “Bullitt” was notable for its car chase scene around the streets of San Francisco. It’s considered one of the most influential movies in film history.
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