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Steve Jobs Doll Draws Legal Threats from Apple

When Steve Jobs passed away, tributes poured out from around the world. The Apple founder and CEO was hailed as a visionary and was destined to be remembered for the impact he had on the electronics industry. However, it seems there's one tribute to Jobs that Apple has not appreciated: The Steve Jobs action figure.

Earlier this week, we reported on In Icon's anatomically correct Steve Jobs doll. It reminded us of the bubble-headed doll from M.I.C. Gadget that Apple banned over a year ago citing trademark infringement. Considering that doll, which was more a caricature of Jobs, was enough to illicit a response from Apple's legal team, we're not in the least bit surprised that this very realistic doll has attracted similar attention. 

The Telegraph reports that the doll, originally scheduled to go on sale in February, may not hit shelves at all if Apple is successful in its bid to stop the Chinese manufacturer from producing it. The British paper reports that Cupertino apparently said in a letter to In Icons that any toy that resembles the Apple's logo, person's name, appearance or likeness of its products is a criminal offense. This is similar to the claims made by Apple when it forced M.I.C Gadget to stop production on last year's Steve Jobs doll. At the time, Cupertino said that "unauthorized use of a person's name and/or likeness constitutes a violation of California Civil Code Section 3344, which prohibits the use of any person’s name, photograph or likeness in a product without that person’s prior consent [...]."

However, it seems Apple may not have such an easy time banning the doll this time around. According to Paid Content, Apple's claim is 'largely bogus.'

"Apple's legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people," writes Jeff Roberts. "Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do not survive beyond the grave in most places," he continues, adding that under U.S. law, "personality rights" only exist on a state level and only about a dozen states recognize image rights after death.

According to the manufacturer, the doll includes one realistic head sculpture and two pairs of glasses, one highly articulated body and three pairs of hands, one black turtleneck and a pair of blue jeans, one black leather belt, one pair of black socks, one pair of sneakers, and one chair. There's also two apples, one of which has a bite, and a hard backdrop that reads "One More Thing."