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Steve Jobs action figure cancelled following legal threats

updated 03:30 pm EST, Mon January 16, 2012

'Immense pressure' from Apple, Jobs' family

Saying he still believed "that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries," Tandy Cheung of In Icon announced that it wills top the offer, production and sale of the eerily photogenic Steve Jobs action figure it had offered earlier this month, reports PC World. In Icon had come under "immense pressure" from lawyer representing both Apple and Jobs' family and had originally said he would defy Apple's wishes and produce the figure anyway.

Cheung also revealed a little of the backstory behind the figure, saying he had originally created the doll four years ago for himself as a "great admirer" of Jobs. "His passing left me with emptiness, sadness and a feeling of great personal loss," he said. "I decided to share this memento with the rest of his fans as a commemoration to Steve."

Shortly after the company announced plans to sell the figure, In Icon started receiving letters from Apple asserting that the company "owns" Jobs' likeness, at least in the characteristic Apple "uniform" the doll wears a replica of. Cheung at first dismissed Apple's threats.

The figure featured an uncanny likeness of Jobs as he looked in 2009, during a period of relative health between gaunt-looking periods that often alarmed shareholders and Apple fans. The doll was highly articulated and would have come with three pairs of hands for different posts. Apple has a history of shutting down attempts by companies to make figures, caricatures or statuettes of Jobs.

Because production is said to have been "stopped" by the company, the possibility that some quantity of the completed figures have been shipped exists. Two Ebay auctions are still listed for the In Icon figure, one listed as a "presale auction" for $225 and the other asking $2,500 and still claiming that the seller will receive the action figure, it having been ordered on the first day of sale. Apple will likely move to shut these auctions down as it has in the past if they aren't taken down by the sellers.

Despite Apple's claims, the doll likely would have been legal to sell in most parts of the US, though it could have been blocked in some other countries. There is no federal law governing the use of a person's likeness after death, and Apple holds no trademark or copyright on Jobs' name or image that has thus been revealed. It is likely that the intervention of Jobs' family would have carried more weight in any court dispute.

by MacNN Staff



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