Kevin Butler may once have been the face of Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation Network and the PSP platform as the fictitious Vice President of various made-up departments within the company division. But apparently Sony has decided to sue the man (actor Jerry Lamber) that plays Kevin Butler and his company - advertising firm Wildcat Creek - over the Kevin Butler IP. Sony claims that Wildcat used the character in an advertising campaign for Bridgestone Tires, with a "Butler-type character" wearing a lab coat testing out Mario Kart Wii.
"Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc on September 11th," SCEA’s senior director of corporate communications Dan Race told VentureBeat. "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," he continued. "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."
It will be interesting to see how this case goes, but it seems unlikely that a court would agree that Jerry Lamber is not allowed to make a living as an actor if the ad in question might have game-related elements as part of it.
We'll continue to follow this story as it develops...