Pele sues Samsung for unauthorised use of his image

Pele and Samsung
Soccer great Pele has filed suit in a US federal court in Chicago against South Korean electronic giant Samsung for its use in an advertisement of the image of someone who resembles the Brazilian sports icon, his attorney reported on Tuesday.

Attorney Frederick J. Sperling, hired by the company handling Pele’s endorsement contracts, confirmed on Tuesday that the suit, filed at the beginning of the month, seeks “fair compensation”, the amount of which he did not specify.

“The goal is to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorised use of Pele’s identity and to prevent future unauthorised uses,” said Sperling.

Samsung, according to the suit, used the image of a man resembling Pele for an ad that appeared last October in The New York Times to promote television sales.

The retired athlete was negotiating with Samsung in late 2013 when “at the last minute, (Samsung) pulled out of the negotiations and never obtained the right to use Pele’s identity in any manner or in any format”, the suit says.

The suit says that the ad harms the value of the commercial rights of the 75-year-old Pele, who has signed agreements with top international companies such as Volkswagen, Subway, Emirates airline and Procter & Gamble.

Sperling is the same attorney who last August secured $8.9 million in a lawsuit over image rights for former basketball icon Michael Jordan against a supermarket chain.