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FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.
There is little doubt that Steve Jobs was at the forefront of the tech revolution. He was an innovator in the realms of computers, music, film and handheld devices. His passing in late 2011 led many to consider the incredible impact he had on modern society. A number of articles and books have covered the life and times of Mr. Jobs. But what about the creation of a Steve Jobs action figure?
Earlier this month, the head of In Icons, a company based in Hong Kong, announced the company was producing a Steve Jobs doll. The doll was to closely resemble Mr. Jobs, with his closely cropped beard, jeans, a dark turtleneck shirt and frameless spectacles.
In Icons started pre-selling a kit that would include the 12-inch-tall doll, a small chair for the doll, an apple and a backdrop. However, In Icons received a cease and desist letter from Apple, The Telegraph reports. That letter asserted In Icon had developed a product that infringed on Apple's logo and appropriated the likeness, name and appearance of a specific person.
Initially, In Icons took the position that it would not relent to Apple's objection. However, In Icons ultimately changed course and decided not to move forward with the Steve Jobs doll. This is reminiscent of what happened with respect to a prior Steve Jobs action figure, created and abandoned by MIC Gadget, another China-based company, after pressure by Apple.
In announcing it would not move forward with the Steve Jobs doll, In Icons noted Mr. Jobs was a "genius, great inventor and visionary." The company stated it had tried to "perfect a figurine with the spirit of Steve Jobs because only this will properly reflect ... respect and admiration of him."
But because of "immense pressure from Apple and Steve Jobs' family," In Icons decided to stop offering the sale of the Steve Jobs doll out of "heartfelt sensitivity."
Well, one thing can be said out of all of this: The late Steve Jobs was larger than life. Otherwise, nobody would even think of creating an action figure in his image.
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.
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