For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Friday, 14 November 2003

BAYONNE BLEEDER SUES -- BUT DOES HIS LAWSUIT PACK A PUNCH?

Findlaw reports that former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner is suing actor Sylvester Stallone for a share of the profits from the "Rocky" movies, claiming the series was based on Wepner's career. Wepner, a New Jersey club fighter, acquired the nickname "The Bayonne Bleeder" for what his opponents did to him even when he won. Wepner, who went nearly 15 rounds in a 1975 loss to Muhammad Ali, has filed a claim before a Jersey City Superior Court that Stallone repeatedly credited that fight as the inspiration for the 1976 Oscar-winning film, from which four sequels followed. "Stallone has been using Chuck's name - and continues to this day - in promoting the `Rocky' franchise without any permission or compensation", said Wepner's lawyer Anthony Mango. Michelle Vega, Stallone's publicist, declined to comment. The lawsuit claims Stallone made several promises to Wepner that he would be financially compensated over the years, though no payments were made.

The IPKat wonders what the legal basis for this claim might be. Stallone and the film’s makers are not alleged to have infringed any trade mark or copyright and, in the absence of any contractual duty to compensate Wepner, a mere promise to do so is not enforceable. Nor is it clear that any right of publicity has been infringed since, even if he was inspired by Wepner, Rocky is very much his own fictional character.

Rocky movies and merchandise
Bleeding boxers here and here
Other boxers here, here and here


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