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6 October 2014Trademarks

Halle Berry close to settlement with watchmaker

Film star Halle Berry is close to a settlement in a lawsuit in which she accused a watch company of unlawfully using her image and trademark in its adverts.

Attorneys for the actress told the US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday (October 3) that they were “putting the finishing touches” to a settlement with the Italian company ToyWatch S.p.A and its brand agents.

According to the Hollywood Reporter website, the parties told the judge they anticipate the settlement will be completed by November 14.

Berry filed the lawsuit in October last year, demanding $2 million in damages and an injunction preventing the company from using her likeness in any way.

The one time James Bond actress initially claimed she would not "voluntarily appear in print or other media for a company or product unless she carefully selects and believes in the company and product" and is compensated appropriately.

In a response filed in December, ToyWatch denied the allegations. It said that, as the adverts were published outside the US and in Italy they could not be found liable for infringement under US law.

It claimed that the images it used were  “in connection with any news or public affairs, or any other type of publication,” making it OK for it to use them too.

During the trial, ToyWatch’s lawyers also suggested Berry could have implied consent to play a marketing role by accepting gifts from marketing companies.

ToyWatch claimed: "If she has long-standing relationships with people who are giving her gifts, and she knows that these individuals work for marketing companies, there may be at the very least an implied consent... that if she accepts the merchandise, she's playing a marketing role."

Berry's lawyers admitted that she often received clothing and accessories from various designers but said they were no more than gifts.

Berry would follow in fellow actress Sandra Bullock's footsteps by suing and then settling with ToyWatch.

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