Fladgate pulls out Formula 1 victory

In a landmark judgment, common law was applied for the first time in an exploitation of identities case because of a vacuum in related UK legislation.
Fladgate Fielder litigation partner Mark Buckley applied the common law of passing off to defend Formula 1 racing driver Eddie Irvine.
Talksport, formerly Talk Radio, had altered a photograph of Irvine speaking into a mobile phone to make it look as if he was listening to one of its radio programmes.
The result in Irvine's favour means that celebrities have protection from false endorsements when their images are used to endorse goods or services.
In applying passing off laws, Buckley made reference to Irvine's goodwill and reputation, misrepresentation by the radio station and damage to the driver's goodwill by virtue of the false endorsement.
Copyright expert Fraser Reid of Theodore Goddard said: “The English courts have finally caught up with the marketplace. In Germany, the courts acknowledge rights to privacy and the US acknowledges personality rights, as does France. There's never been a reported decision where celebrity endorsements have gone to the High Court. For the individual it won't change things too much, but it's a sword for sporting personalities to tackle misuse of their image.”
Paul Stevens of Olswang acted for the station and instructed Michael Hicks of 19 Old Buildings. Buckley instructed Lindsay Lane of 8 New Square.