Misappropriation of Name

  1. Introduction

    Misappropriation of his or her name is a separate claim that could be tied to the improper use of his or her image.

  2. Elements

    Deprivation of right to control the use of one’s name. Importantly, a plaintiff need not prove monetary loss to recover damages, though credible evidence like expert testimony of others with experience in the field should be offered if plaintiff seeks to recover more than nominal damages.1

  3. Cases

    1. Zim v. W. Publ’g Co., 573 F.2d 1318 (5th Cir. 1978) (applying FL law)

      • Procedural Posture: Appeal from order of lower court finding in favor of a publisher in an author’s suit seeking an accounting of royalties from defendant publisher under a contract and seeking damages for an alleged unauthorized and wrongful appropriation of his name

      • Law: Invasion of privacy (misappropriation)

      • Facts: The plaintiff sued the defendant publisher for royalties arising from their publication of a book. The parties had a signed contract for royalties. The court found that the parties had a valid agreement for the payment of royalties.

      • Outcome: The court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The court held that the publisher’s use of the author’s name in connection with the book had been tortious and unauthorized, where the parties had contracted only for defendant to use plaintiff’s name in one book. The court explained that plaintiff should be awarded nominal damages even though he could not prove that the publication had caused him any actual damages.

  4. Practice Pointers

    Nothing relevant at this time.

  1. Zima v. W. Publ’g Co., 573 F.2d 1318, 1327 (5th Cir. 1978) (applying Florida law).