SBD/April 27, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Samsung Has 30 Days To Respond To Lawsuit Filed By 18 Olympians

Samsung has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit filed by 18 Olympians, which alleges that the company did not have permission to use their names and images in the company's Olympic marketing program, the “Genome Project.” The attorney representing the 18 athletes, Rich Foster, yesterday issued a statement in response to Samsung’s claim yesterday that it “followed USOC procedures in communicating with athletes” and that “athletes have had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the program and to control their participation.” In his statement, Foster said, “These ‘procedures’ consisted of sending an email to some of the Plaintiffs, in which they were told of the Genome Project and advised that they would be a part of the project unless they ‘opted out.’ This was the extent of 'athlete participation.' The law is clear that silence is not an acceptance of such an offer and that neither Samsung nor the Olympic Committee can create a contractual relationship between any athlete and Samsung via an email to which there was no response. In addition, several of the plaintiffs returned the ‘opt out letter,’ indicating that they did not want to be part of the project, but were never-the-less included in it. Others deleted the email without reading it. These procedures were sorely lacking in legal foundation and failed to meet minimum due diligence standards. Other statements have been made that there was no intent to ‘commercialize’ the athletes. This is simply false. Their names and images were placed on a Facebook application bearing Samsung’s trademarked name. The application dangled discounts on Samsung’s electronics products and offered products from other companies. The project clearly sought to induce sales of Samsung products and sought to build the athletic community around its brand."
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