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Apple threatens legal action over Steve Jobs figurine

updated 12:00 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012

Claims copying Jobs' likeness may be criminal

Apple is threatening to sue Hong Kong company InIcons over its Steve Jobs figure, says UK newspaper The Telegraph. The product is set to go on sale next month for $100, and copy many details of Jobs' signature look, from facial features down to his sneakers. Apple, though, is reportedly claiming in a letter to InIcons that it has the rights to Jobs' likeness, along with more standard likenesses such as logos, products, and names.

The Telegraph notes that the figure recently appeared in an eBay auction for $135, but the listing was quickly ended. The InIcons product is not the first time an unauthorized Jobs figure has gone on sale. A MIC Gadget offering sold in small numbers before likewise being shut down by Apple. Some buyers turned around and put their purchases on eBay, where prices escalated to as high as $2,500.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Grendelmon

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Unless they are threatening because of the use of the toy iPhone, what business does Apple have suing this company? I mean, shouldn't this be a matter for Jobs' family instead? The doll website never states Apple, CEO, or any other affiliation with Apple.

    How can a *company* have the rights to a person's "likeness"? That's just absurd.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    His family might

    but I don't see how this is any problem for Apple.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jobs was a celebrity

    I believe it is legal to copy the likeness of the celebrity, but not the name. If they name this carefully, and change the iPhone to something else, they should be ok here.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    using the name or likeness of another

    In most states, you can be sued for using someone else's name, likeness, or other personal attributes without permission for an exploitative purpose. Usually, people run into trouble in this area when they use someone's name or photograph in a commercial setting, such as in advertising or other promotional activities. But, some states also prohibit use of another person's identity for the user's own personal benefit, whether or not the purpose is strictly commercial.

  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969



    apple now wants to own the rights to employees likeness. Steve Jobs' Estate should have the matter of exactly who owns the rights to his likeness clarified for all to know. I seriously doubt that Steve ceded this right to apple. He had a strong idea of his worth!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Creepy looking thing.

    Just like in real life.

  1. beb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The headline is hysterical

    Sorry Apple, but this is dumb. If people (iJustine I guess, I dunno.) want Steve Jobs action figures let em have them.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I could imagine coming at it from something along the lines of claiming that because the figures are modeled (and posed) after the look of Jobs during his keynote presentations that they're essentially bootleg merchandise for an Apple production, in the same way that an unauthorized Uma Thurman action figure becomes an unauthorized Kill Bill action figure if you put the figure in a yellow jumpsuit with a black stripe and sell it with a katana.

    But that's certainly not what the article makes it sound like Apple is saying. And if they're really claiming that they have exclusive rights to Jobs' face and dress code, I think maybe Steve's estate may have something of a disagreement with them. Also, somebody in Apple Legal needs to get fired and/or checked for megalomania ASAP. But hey, corporations are people too, according to current US law, so maybe this is just an extension of that.

    Honestly, guys, did you not think about how that was going to look in headlines?

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ever considered...

    ... that Apple's stance is in concordance with Steve's estate and family?

    No, never crossed anyone's mind, has it?

  1. imNat-imadouche

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Saw the figure

    I like how big his hands are. Indicates the money-grabbing pig that he was.

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