Apple Forces Removal Of Steve Jobs Action Figure

from the but-why? dept

A Chinese company, MIC Gadget, got some attention for its Steve Jobs figurine but some of that attention came from Apple's lawyers, who forced the company to stop selling the item. Lawyer David Canton (who pointed us to this story) does a nice job of explaining why this doesn't make much sense:
It's not as if this in practice causes any harm to Apple or Steve Jobs or confusion about their brand. It doesn't put Steve or Apple in any bad light -- in fact, it's a good likeness. And it sold quickly, so there is demand for it.

Steve and Apple are not desperate for any extra publicity, or any extra income. But instead of shutting them down -- what if they struck a deal to pay a royalty on each one, and to sell them in Apple stores -- and then Apple donate its income from this to charity.
But that would go beyond the standard mentality of "protect, protect, protect."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 1:08am

    it isn't his idea, so it isn't a good one, therefore it needs to be shut down. :)

     

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  2.  
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    Liam (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 1:20am

    While apple didn't have stop these being produced, they do have a very defined brand image (high quality design, simplicity etc), and these figurines really do not fit in with that, and selling them in the apple stores would damage the brand image.

     

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  3.  
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    Mikkel Paulson (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 1:34am

    In their defence, I don't know that I'd want a bobble head made of myself eitherů although I'd certainly be bemused to see someone try.

     

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  4.  
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    jaron, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 2:25am

    yes

    I agree 100%. Siunds like a hissy fit or bored lawyers!

     

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  5.  
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    cc (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 2:27am

    According to the linked article, the figurine is "holding the iPhone incorrectly, in the supposed "death grip" that causes signal loss on the iPhone 4."

    That, to me, sounds like the beginning of a parody defense.

    Apple scared them off on trademark and copyright grounds. Perhaps the word "iPhone" is trademarked, but I doubt they have trademarks on Jobs's likeness, or copyrights on something like a 2x2mm iPhone... All in all, Apple seems to be using the courts to terrorise a produce out of existence, just because it doesn't like it.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 2:32am

    Apple the eternal underdog bully.

    I think there is a curse here somewhere.

    Apple made some of the most innovative things I ever saw in my time and yet they always seems to get surpassed by other players that open the field to everybody. The insistence of Apple(Jobs) to try and create the ultimate monopoly always fail and he keeps trying, the guy is nothing but persistent LoL

     

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  7.  
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    Chris, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 2:47am

    From famous to infamous!

    Well, now this figure is an in-demand collectors' item. Wow!

     

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  8.  
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    Jake, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 2:51am

    Re:

    Agreed. The legal tactics are somewhat dubious, but producing little plastic dolls in someone else's likeness without their knowledge or consent is a pretty unpleasant thing to do.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 3:00am

    Ass face

    MIC Gadget should put an ass where Jobs head is. Then they could say it's a parody, although actually it would be an even more accurate likeness.

     

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  10.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 3:01am

    The inside story....

    Apple's lawyers were ordered by the Apple board of directors to shut down the distribution of these Steve Jobs dolls ASAP.

    It seems that these dolls, while certainly less costly than the real Steve Jobs, were proving to be more charismatic leaders, better communicators and superior technology visionaries than the real article.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 3:05am

    They should make a Steve Jobs Liver and see what Apple has to say about it.

     

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  12.  
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    Rekrul, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 3:18am

    Apple/Jobs obviously wanted these off the market as they aren't an accurate depiction of Steve Jobs. His head should be at least twice that size...

     

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  13.  
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    Elliot (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 3:27am

    What is the basis for the suit?

    Can anyone clarify what exactly is Apple's claim. Can any private citizen prevent someone from using them as an action figure? (Actually, I would be flattered :-) )
    If not, then how can they legally connect an image of Steve Jobs with Appler?

     

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  14.  
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    alternatives(), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 3:51am

    Oh for a 3rd printer/injection molding machine

    So I could make 'em and sell 'em.

    Under a 'litigious bastard' series.

    (and Jobs has been a bitter man about this stuff after the Mighty Woz's Apple ][ line was cloned. The only reason for the end to the pineapple/franklin was because the spawn of 2 lawyers - Bill Gates - had done the paperwork on the AppleBASIC section of the ROM.)

     

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  15.  
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    Chucklebutte, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 5:30am

    Ahhh

    I wish someone would make me into a toy, that would totally be uber cool!

     

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  16.  
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    Memyself, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    I don't know what the law is pertaining this sort of issue, and have no idea if Apple really has a right to stop someone manufacturing on grounds of using Jobs likeness. But maybe Steve Jobs just doesn't want action figures of himself made. I really couldn't blame him if that's the case.

     

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  17.  
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    Droslovinia, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Problems

    I think that Steve was just pissed because the action figure didn't have a socket where it could be joined at the hip with the Rupert Murdoch action figure. If they're really going to make iPad apps for Newcorp, they need to get the symbolism right.

     

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  18.  
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    NullOp, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 6:05am

    Owww....

    You'd think Apple would get tired of that stick up their butt.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 6:14am

    Because Apple SUCKS!! They always have and always will. They will become another Microsoft that uses lawsuits rather than innovation to try and further their business. The Pirates of Silicon Valley. That's the name of the movie you need to watch. Jobs stole it all. He never had an original idea in his life. He was and is simply an opportunist. Jobs stole the code for the Mac and the Mouse from Xerox and Gates stole it from Jobs. Pirates!!

     

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  20.  
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    Drew, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 6:56am

    Of course they can't!

    If they did the smart thing, then what would the LAWYERS do? They'd be bored!!!

     

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  21.  
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    Lachlan Hunt (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    This is clear trademark infringement, and I think Apple did the right thing. The figurines clearly used the Apple logo, which could give the false impression that they were endorsed by Apple.

     

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  22.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    Scarcity == value

    Well, now that the original run is probably all of these dolls that will ever be made, they are now at least 10x as valuable as they were originally! My guess, someone at Apple purchased a number of them, then brought it to the attention of their bosses. Ipso resulto - banned in Cupertino!

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    SJ

    Simple... just change the face image to that of a butt, add glasses... really no change..

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    Jobs stole the code for the Mac and the Mouse from Xerox and Gates stole it from Jobs. Pirates!!

    So Steve Jobs stole Smalltalk code, transformed it into 68K assembler and Pascal, then transformed it into something that was totally unlike the Xerox Star? Then Bill Gates went ahead and stole the aforementioned 68K ASM and Pascal, transformed it into x86 ASM and C, then changed it into something completely unlike the Mac?

    Damn. I never knew.

     

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  25.  
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    Jeff Blaine, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    "what if they struck a deal to pay a royalty on each one, and to sell them in Apple stores -- and then Apple donate its income from this to charity." Yeah, because Apple has time to jerk around with the logistics of crap like that and has lots of brand interest in slinging figurines in their stores.

     

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  26.  
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    Cowardly Anon, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    It honestly wouldn't surprise me if Steve Jobs has put a trademark on both his name and likeness. Though I'm not sure how that would be accomplished really...

    Frankly, they should have told Apple where to stick an apple and keep selling them. :P

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Bobble head...

    maybe they should have made his junk bigger and he wouldn't have complained, they got the size of his head right though, normally bobble heads have big heads... his looks just right

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    is this post or pre cancer Jobs??

    Apple products are just not the same after he got the cancer.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    is this post or pre cancer Jobs??

    Apple products are just not the same after he got the cancer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Keiff, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Not very lifelike...

    It's not skinny/anemic enough... this might be from 5 years ago or something... but not his current skeletor self.

     

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  31.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    Then vs Now.

    By modern standards, pretty much every OS in common use today would have been strangled in it's crib by the modern state of patent and copyright law and litigation.

    ...and consumer systems generally are always behind the curve. They get features last after they have been in academia and in more serious commercial use for decades.

    The mouse is actually a great example of this.

     

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  32.  
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    raelalt (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Doen't fit with Apple's image.

    The figurine in question does not comply with Apple's official image of Steve Jobs. For instance: it is not holding a stone tablet or standing on a mountaintop.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    I hope his cancer comes back and he dies

     

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  34.  
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    raelalt (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    You are a sad person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: What is the basis for the suit?

    I think their claim is probably that the defendant can't afford to fight a bogus lawsuit.

     

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  36.  
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    Ian, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 7:42pm

    Parody

    If it was more a satirical parody the creator would have an obvious defense. Other than that apple will simply bully tactic him into submission.

     

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  37.  
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    Andy, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Looks like the first Steve Jobs action figure is on sale on US eBay!

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    korgri, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 2:58am

    Re: Doen't fit with Apple's image.

    Or maybe because they have their own iAction figure coming out in the spring?
    This may be Steve's Tom-Cruise-on-the-couch moment if he isn't careful; stock dives,
    Jobs bobble head figures appear in car windows.
    He can't drive anywhere without seeing these ridiculous things in the car in front of him...

    I wonder if iThey could do anything if you took the figure as is and
    replaced the head with an apple that has a bite taken out of it?

    Now that would be a good bobble head figure..

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Laura, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    Steve Jobs Action Figure for Sale

    I have one of these figures for sale if anyone is interested...
    http://www.stevejobsactionfigure.com/
    One of 300 in its original box and packing materials from Hong Kong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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