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Sony Issues Statement Regarding Bridgestone, Kevin Butler Lawsuit

On September 11th, Sony filed a lawsuit against Wildcat Creek and Bridgestone. By appearing engaged in a Mario Kart Wii battle in an advertisement for Brigdestone, actor Jerry Lambert, who plays Sony’s marketing character, Kevin Butler, supposedly caused confusion in the video game market and damage to Sony. Sony claims its lawsuit is based on violations of the Lanham Act, which prohibits false advertising.

“Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony.”

-Dan Race, Sony’s senior director of corporate communications

90 thoughts on “Sony Issues Statement Regarding Bridgestone, Kevin Butler Lawsuit”

    1. California Business and Professions Code Section 16600

      Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.

      Sony will lose. End of story.

      1. Actually, Sony will probably win. They used a character that Sony had the rights to to promote something else. I mean, what if they had flipped and had Mario playing a psvita in a commercial. I like these kind of commercials, cause I think they’re funny, but it very easily may be a breach of contract to use someone else’s character for your own gain. They very well could have used any other character to make the commercial, or even made one up or parodied that character, and that would have been fine, but the fact that they used that character is where Sony has their argument, and it’s a fair one to make. I don’t know all the details to this, but if there’s anything that gives Sony control or ownership of that character in it, then they easily can win this. Granted, none of you here will listen to me and I’ll provably be seen as a Sony drone for this comment, but that’s just blind fanboy talk. Hating on other companies for competing with your company of choice. But competition is a good thing, makes people work harder to do better for cheaper, so better for us. And just so you know, I’ve owned every Nintendo console since the n64 and gameboy color and only 1 Sony console, the ps2, so don’t go saying I’m a Sony drone and to get off this site. I’m just not a blind worshiper. Gotta call everyone out, not just the rivals, otherwise, how will our own company improve and acknowledge everyone’s victories, so everyone knows what to beat. Good on Sony for standing up for themselves, all companies need to. Now where’s my Wii U, I wanna play warriors orochi 3 hyper, that looks fun

      1. from the look of that statement, they’re just suing over the “kevin butler” character that jerry lambert used in playstation’s commercials, but he was never called kevin butler or anything else in bridgestone commercials. he was just there. he wasn’t portraying kevin butler. sony may likely get handed a loss on this one

          1. Not only a point, they’re, legally, 100% right! That guy has no way to defend himself now, what he did is inexcusable in terms of break of contract!

              1. its not a matter of contract…… its clearly stated that its because they used a character made by sony so they’re infringing intellectual property, which is idiotic because they never say he’s kevin butler, they just show his darn face and have him say stuff

                1. well thats a good point right there, but read the demand, “confusion damage sony”

                  instead of damage, how about violate an actor contract?

                2. Honestly as long as the person still did ads for me I wouldn’t give a shit. Then again I’m not a whiny bitch that freaks out when something happens that doest effect you much.

                    1. People are missing the point. he wasn’t in character as Kevin butler. His role in the commercial was a member of bridgestone. so Sony are being retarded and suing even though he is within rights to appear in whatever he wants as long as it is not as “Kevin butler”

                      1. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t playing kevin buttler, what matters is that when people saw that ad, an internet phenomenon occured where people suddenly started talking about kevin switching sides and Nintendo fans instantly had a perfect rebuttal to all the sony fans saying how awesome kevin Butler is.

                        He did the damage and yes there was damage. You shouldn’t even be able to deny that there was damage, just look at all the confusion it caused when it was first released. Just the other day I saw a Kevin Buttler advertisement that was photoshopped with a picture of Reggie Fils-Aime in the background. How can you deny the affect this commercial had on Sony.

                        Sony is WELL within its rights to go after him. And this is coming from a person who legitimately HATES Sony and regularly goes around telling people why I hate sony. In this case though, Sony is completely in the right.

                        1. I actually feel kinda sorry for Lambert. He probably didn’t intend for any harm…unless Sony p****d him off for some reason and this was some way at “getting back at the boss” lool. This situation kind of makes Sony look bad.

                        2. wait how do they claim “kevin butler” did another ad didn’t he wear a fake mustache and never claim his name everyone just called him “kevin butler”

                            1. How can they make it unbeatable when they can’t even keep it functional for years? I have a Slim from last year that occasionally overheats. I fucking hate it, and will NEVER buy another xbox again. Not to mention they are greedy on both the online service and the ads on the Dashboard -.- /rant

                          1. Wow that’s a F*cked Up Contract, “You Cannot Express Enjoyment when Playing a Nintendo game on Camera”,

                            LOVE, Sony :3

                            1. If he signs a contract, he has to follow it. If he wants to support other companies as well, with playing games of them in front of the camera where millions of people will see it on TV/the internet, he shouldn’t have signed a contract with a certain one in the first place. Sony is absolutely right in this case.

                          2. I’m sorry, but, DAMAGE?
                            Da hell is that BS?!
                            Do they really think that this tiny little thing could POSSIBLY cause damage to them?
                            Sony, really, as a PS3 owner, I’m extremely disappointed in you.
                            Does Nintendo’s recent moves have you THAT insecure, that an old Wii game appearing in a commercial that a guy connected to you is in feels like a threat? Even if he wasn’t in-character as Kevin Butler during said commercial, but instead was acting as a member of Bridgestone, and thus does not use his contracted persona against you?
                            I mean, seriously?
                            Sony, Sony, Sony…..damn, man, what the hell…..
                            I hope they rescind this lawsuit, because it just makes them look like a bunch of iron-fisted jerk-wads.
                            It might be a microscopic amount, but moves like this are sure to make at least one or two people think twice about signing any Sony-written contracts in the future.
                            I can only pray that those few incidents do not affect any of the great games the PS3 system is likely due to get.

                          3. So Sony sues because of a ‘trademark’ issue when in no way or form in the advert does that guy get referred to as Kevin butler, he is just some guy in a labcoat and you sue. Yet you give the ok for superbot to not only do but also say they heavily borrowed from super smash bros? GG Sony, GG.

                            And before Sony fanboys say on this site “it’s a completely different game etc etc” not only did they admit from borrowing (different from influenced). You also have that pic of the wii in their studio. Not to say the game is bad but you can’t deny that it’s basically the same game with different characters and stages and a little adjustment on the gravity.

                          4. How… lame. Sony’s ads are pretty stupid anyway and not worth getting this protective over. If it’s in the contract that he can’t act in anything else ever, they’ve got him, but as an actor he should be allowed to take other gigs playing different characters.

                              1. Really? SONY’S ads are stupid? I love their commercials, just look at this onehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIFKAu75HKo&list=PLE2A4A347E96A308B&index=5&feature=plcp
                                It’s halarious!! That’s just one of there many awesome advertismens. Lets be honist here, Sony’s ads are arguably better than Nintendo’s ads. I’m not being sarcastic

                              2. So Lambert and Bridgestone need to claim that the character in the commercial isn’t Kevin Butler, which obviously it isn’t, in order to win? Sounds like its getting thrown out by the judge

                              3. Sony, stop getting so butthurt over this. Like really? Don’t you have more important things to do like copying something else from Nintendo? Or should I say like the developer from Sony Playstation Allstars Battle Royale, “We’re not copying them, we’re borrowing!”.

                              4. the fact the Kevin butler ad campaign was in its self sad desperate and based on complete lies and anti nintendoism,,, only makes this 1000 x sweeter than it would be if the original campaign wasn’t so sad and begging-ish and BASED AROUND NAKED MEN FIGHTING IN THE STREET in that weird homo black and white move fight game that wasn’t a patch on wii sports boxing

                                everyone on earth put there head in there hands at sonys desperation in that campaign except loyal IDIOT sony fans

                                not only did the butler campaign fail it has returned to hurt near dead sony AND I LOVE IT

                                1. Inb4 Sony sues him for like 200,000$, because obviously everyone knows this guy and it’s going to destroy Sony?

                                2. Wow, This guy hasn’t been used in Sony ads for a while, appears in an ad for tires so he can pay the bills and then gets sued because HIS LOOKS have some how been trademarked any judge will see he was just trying to make a living and will rule in his favour.

                                3. Guys,this is because sony is desperate.Sony can’t risk losing someone to nintendo.Sony is acknowledging that there losing(not offending anyone,just sayin’)and will not stand for it.Although they will lose because it doesn’t make sense,they are willing to take the risk.

                                4. Well I can imagine how Sony feels betrayed, I mean what if dark Gary started working for Microsoft?! Hell would break loose

                                  1. You’re no better off, dude. You should at least know what’s really going on before you act like Sony’s doing the right thing. Like I said before, you’re a closeted Sony fanboy. Just admit it and stop pretending you’re “fair”. I know Fox News correspondents who are more “fair” than you are.

                                      1. Coming from myself (a Nintendo loyalist), I don’t see any indication of him being a Sony fanboy at all. He’s simply stating a fact that nudges toward how these same people who were jumping down both his throat and mine in the previous post regarding this issue thought that they actually knew wtf they were talking about when they didn’t know jackchizz about how the real world operates and how these contracts work.

                                        Any right-thinking company who hires someone under contract expressly states within the terms of the agreement that, at no time while the contract is still in effect, shall the individual either participate in a advertisement or other dealing with a competing company (in this case the indirect involvement with Nintendo from the Bridgestone commercial) or damage the company’s product in any way.

                                        We don’t know what’s in the contract, but we can certainly ascertain that it would contain the usual agreement between the contracted individual (Jerry Lambert) and holding company (in this case, SCEA).

                                        As said before, no idea where fanboyism was present in anything Simply G stated. He was stating a fact comparing how the same group of people acting like morons and not knowing jack about contractual dealings and how they worked from before all of a sudden just came out of Harvard with a degree in law.

                                    1. They didn’t use the Kevin Bulter character to sell tires, They use Jerry Lambert (an actor). His statement is invalid.
                                      .

                                    2. If I were Sony, rather than suing him, I would have contracted him to make another commercial, denying his love for Mario Kart, or portraying him being held hostage to play other consoles (or something more creative)

                                      You know, find a way to turn it into positive press and turn it on Nintendo. That would have been creative competition… But no, instead, they just are going to sue him, making them look bad, justified or not.

                                      1. For what I can get of this new, because Jerry Lambert was not playing Kevin Butler in that commercial, just a X scientific, Sony will lose the lawsuit and probably Kevin Butler in the process.

                                      2. Well they have to proove he was playing the Kevin character. He never said his name, so Jerry was in the commercial not Kevin. Case closed SONY…..

                                      3. I have never read the contract, so I can’t really have a say in the matter, but it looks to me that Sony thinks they own Jerry Lambert (real, living person) when in reality they only own Kevin Butler (fictional character, acting role).

                                        1. Pretty much. They can’t trademark his face, regardless of any non-compete clauses (which aren’t recognised in California law anyway).

                                      4. I wonder who else they “Own”. I can picture it now on CNN.
                                        Breaking News – “Sony slave camps revealed in Jerry Lambert case”
                                        Playstation owners better re-visit their terms of service and read the small print carefully, they may own you as well.

                                      5. Sony will lose. Unless of course his contract stated that he could appear AT ALL in any adverts for ANY other system or products that that directly or indirectly are related to other systems. Being that he’s the president of an advertising company and most likely has a legal team behind him, I’m almost positive that his contract didn’t say anything like that. So again..I believe Sony will lose.

                                      6. If the contract doesn’t say anything about him not being allowed to promote comeptetors stuff they are screwed. As they goes the way they do it seems like the contract doesn’t state anything like that, because that would’ve been an easier case to get him for. Therefore it looks like Sony will lose.

                                      7. Pingback: Here’s What Sony Had to Say about the ‘Kevin Butler’ Lawsuit | GenGAME

                                      8. I think the “suing” stuff is just for show. Sony just want to redeem themselves from the fans who believed that an actor betrayed just because he played some other character playing the Wii.

                                        Also, even if there is a clause in the actor’s contract about appearing in competitor’s ads, I don’t think he would be stupid enough to miss that, unless he knows there’s a loophole and that he can get away with it.

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