IP licensing: for some celebrities, a staying power beyond death

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2017 | Intellectual Property |

task for him or her to name even a single one of the King’s storied hits from bygone decades.

Elvis has, well, panache. And what is eminently notable about that — especially for marketing executives with well-attuned sales antenna — is that the aura that surrounds the pronounced sneer, flaring hips and memorable voice endures beyond death.

Seemingly forever. And a similar connection that resonates with the public exists for select other icons who have departed the scene, even years ago.

The names readily come to mind. Michael Jackson. James Dean. Jimi Hendrix. Frank Sinatra. Elizabeth Taylor. Marilyn Monroe.

And others that readily come to mind for our readers across Southern California, of course.

We note on a relevant page of our website at the Los Angeles-area business law firm of Larson & Gaston that marketing and licensing is a key area in the realm of intellectual property protection.

As stressed by a flatly gaudy number noted in a prominent financial publication, that need for protection extends with special force where licensed services and goods are sold. According to Forbes, the so-called “licensing pie” relevant to services and goods sold globally last year amounted to a staggering $263 billion.

And deceased mega-celebrities played a major role in the flow of that money. It is estimated that Elvis’s estate took in about $27 million last year on the marketing/licensing of products linked with the entertainer’s name and likeness. Prince’s estate hauled in just about the same.

Such figures underscore the headline point made by Forbes, namely, that in some select instances, “It pays to be famous and dead.”

Of course, many people want a piece of the aforementioned pie. For those with legal rights to a deceased celebrity’s name and image, that necessitates the securing of sound and aggressive legal counsel well experienced in promoting clients’ intellectual property rights and taking strong action against would-be infringement by third parties.

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