When word first broke of Sony suing Bridgestone over actor Jerry Lambert's appearance in a Bridgestone commercial, it created in equal parts surprise and intrigue. Here is a case of a relatively unknown actor becoming prominent within the gaming community for his role as "Kevin Butler". Perhaps too prominent, as Sony believes Bridgestone using Jerry Lambert in its commercial advertising a Wii competition represents an "intent of unfairly capitalizing on the consumer goodwill generated by 'Kevin Butler'," as stated in the lawsuit.
Bridgestone has responded specifically to this allegation, saying that:
"Mr. Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer...Bridgestone denies that 'Kevin Butler' appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial."
This case is boiling down to whether or not an actor's specific role can become so well known that just his appearance on a similar or competing product's advertisement causes confusion among consumers. Jerry Lambert certainly became known in gaming circles for his Kevin Butler role, but does appearing in a Bridgestone tire commercial confuse the gaming audience? That question will be of chief concern during the lawsuit, providing Sony does not pull the lawsuit before the October 12th deadline.
Source: [The Hollywood Reporter]