Soccer legend Pele claims Samsung knowingly used a lookalike in a newspaper ad and has hired the same law firm used by Michael Jordan last year.
Pele is suing Samsung for $30million for using a lookalike of him in an advert after failing to reach an agreement for the Brazilian football great's image to be used.
According to a court filing obtained by Omnisport, the ad includes a facial photo of a black man who "very closely resembles" Pele.
That photo serves as a backdrop for "a superimposed photograph of a Samsung television, which depicts a soccer match in which one of the players is seen making a modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pele."
Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has been retired since 1971. The lawsuit, filed March 16 in Chicago, states the majority of Pele's income "is now derived from (his) ability to license his name and persona to commercial sponsors who wish to capitalize on Pele's fame. As a business, the licensing of Pele’s identity is just as important to him now as his professional soccer playing career once was."
The 75-year-old claims Samsung "never obtained the right to use Pele’s identity in any manner or in any format." The unauthorized use of Pele's likeness "falsely implies Pele’s endorsement" of Samsung's products, the suit reads.
To represent him in the case, Pele has hired the same law firm retained by former NBA player Michael Jordan in his lawsuit against a grocery store chain that used Jordan's name and No. 23 without permission in a 2009 ad to promote a coupon worth $2 off steaks. Jordan was awarded nearly $9 million in the case and later settled for an undisclosed amount.