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.

Wednesday, 28 January 2004

BEDFORD KEEPS STIFF UPPER LIP AFTER REGULATOR LETS MOUSTACHE ADS CONTINUE

Former track event star David Bedford has won his fight with The Number, the company that operates the 118 118 directory enquiries service, over the use of 70s-style athletes in its adverts. Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, has upheld a ruling of the late Independent Television Commission. The regulatory body held that the adverts caricature Bedford "by way of a comically, exaggerated representation of him". Bedford, a former 10,000 metres world record holder, immediately announced he would launch court action against The Number to recover damages. Meanwhile, despite Ofcom’s ruling, The Number, who insist the characters in its adverts are based on other runners from the Seventies including American athlete Steve Prefontaine, remains free to continue to use the two Bedford lookalikes.

Ofcom ruled that the two runners caricature David Bedford by way of a comically exaggerated representation of him looking like he did in the 1970s, sporting a hairstyle and facial hair like his at the time and wearing running kit almost identical to the running kit that was distinctively worn by him at the time. Ofcom added that Bedford had not necessarily suffered actual financial harm, adding that its decision that the company had breached the Advertising Standards Code was punishment enough and that banning the adverts would be disproportionate. Bedford interpreted the ruling otherwise, saying that no new adverts using the runners could be shown in the future without further breaches of the code.

The IPKat, who thanks Tim Pinto, MediaBeak and others for this new item, is purr-plexed at the Ofcom ruling. Even if Bedford had not actually suffered financial harm, the gratuitous use of his image by The Number could at least be expected to create the false impression that he had endorsed the 118 118 service. This is an actionable passing off according to Mr Justice Laddie and the Court of Appeal in Irvine v Talksport.

Welcome to Bedford here; welcome to moustaches here
Click here and here for links to Bedford athletics
Other David Bedfords here, here and here

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