Back late August, a Fox News weekend anchor, Harris Faulkner, made the news when she filed a lawsuit against toymaker Hasbro Inc. claiming it stole her likeness for a toy in its “Littlest Pet Shop” product line.
The toy Harris Faulkner figurine is a small plastic hamster which, like more than 100 other creatures in the line, has an oversized head an eyes, yet the human Harris Faulkner said Hasbro used her, “name, likeness, identity, or persona on the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll is particularly wrongful for several reasons,” according to the lawsuit.
In addition to having the same name, Faulkner's suit says the toy bears a resemblance to her, in particular the “tone of its complexion, the shape of its eyes and the design of its eye makeup.”
Now, Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro has responded in its own rather entertaining filing calling for the dismissal of the suit.
As first noted on the website Deadline.com, Hasbro attorneys point out that existing laws state that a successful suit based on fictional characters using the name of a real person must show that there is more in common than a name. And in that case, the human Faulkner's claim is a bit difficult to prove.
“As demonstrated by even a cursory comparison of Ms. Faulkner and the Hamster Toy, the two look nothing alike,” the filing states. “First, Ms. Faulkner is an adult, African-American, human, female newscaster; the Hamster Toy is an inch-tall, cartoon-like plastic animal, which has no apparent gender or rofession, or even clothing that might identify its gender or profession.”
And as to the similarity in the eyes?
“…the entire Littlest Pet Shop series depicted in the packaging, has the same large eyes and long eyelashes as the Hamster Toy. … Thus, there is nothing special about the eyes of the Hamster Toy that would cause a person to identify them with Ms. Faulkner's eyes. Similarly, there also is nothing unique about the ‘shape' of Ms. Faulkner's eyes, or the ‘design' of her eye makeup that somehow identifies the Hamster Toy with her appearance.”
You can check out the full Hasbro response online.