Fox News TV host Harris Faulkner’s claim that Hasbro Inc. violated her publicity rights with a same-name toy hamster can move ahead after surviving a motion to dismiss.
A federal district court ruled July 21 against the motion by Hasbro, which argued that Faulkner's complaint failed to make a plausible case that the world’s third-largest toy company had misappropriated her identity based solely on the character’s name.
“Faulkner is entitled to adduce evidence that as a child plays inside this fictionalized, highly interactive world, s/he may see or put into the girl hamster doll named Harris Faulkner the identity, persona, and characteristics of the real Harris Faulkner,” the court.
Kenner Products started the Littlest Pet Shop line of toys in the early 1990s. Hasbro, its parent company, closed Kenner in 2000 and reintroduced the line in 2005. The characters represented by the toys also appear in cartoons, video games and comic books and in stuffed animal form. In 2014, Hasbro released the inch-high Harris Faulkner figure, sold in a package as a companion to a larger terrier figure named Benson Detwyler.
Last August, the real Faulkner sued, alleging that the toy intentionally traded on her identity in violation of her rights under New Jersey common law. Faulkner also alleged false endorsement under federal law.
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