Nespresso loses lawsuit over Clooney look-alike ads
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Nespresso loses lawsuit over Clooney look-alike ads

Judge rules that Israeli company Espresso Club did not harm coffee giant with spoof ads, says viewers are sophisticated

Actor George Clooney poses with the Honorary Cesar award during a photocall at the 42nd Cesar Film Awards ceremony at Salle Pleyel in Paris, February 24, 2017. This annual ceremony is presented by the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques. (AP/Francois Mori)
Actor George Clooney poses with the Honorary Cesar award during a photocall at the 42nd Cesar Film Awards ceremony at Salle Pleyel in Paris, February 24, 2017. This annual ceremony is presented by the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques. (AP/Francois Mori)

Israel’s Espresso Club has won a court case brought against it by the international giant Nestle over an advertising campaign using a George Clooney look-alike.

Over two years ago, Espresso Club, a small Israeli company, ran a series of ads that spoofed Nestle’s Nespresso coffee commercials and their Holywood star spokesman.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court ruled then that Espresso Club did not harm Nespresso’s reputation or infringe on copyright. Nespresso appealed the decision but to no avail.

At the end of last week, the Tel Aviv District Court upheld the ruling of the lower court and required Nespresso to pay Espresso Club’s expenses of NIS 110,700.

“The court found that, although Nespresso invested millions of dollars in commercials starring George Clooney, the said company holds no creators’ rights in his regard,” a lawyer for Espresso Club said.

The judge said that “One must remember that today’s average viewer is sophisticated and exposed to a great deal of information and commercials on various media, able to distinguish between a funny commercial, a humorous jab or actual slander.”

Clooney, who is also a member of the board of directors at Nespresso, stars in a line of Nespresso commercials, which Espresso Club parodied with a Clooney look-alike, David Segal.

The Espresso Club ads had a disclaimer informing viewers that the actor wasn’t, in fact, George Clooney.

“Today, the court in Israel stopped the Nespresso battery of lawyers from impairing competition in the coffee machine market,” Espresso Club said in a statement. “In a ruling that encourages competition and supports freedom of speech in advertising, he found that Espresso Club proposes a different way of thinking by which ‘good coffee can also be enjoyed in a T-shirt.'”

In their ads, the Clooney look-alike takes of his fancy suit to enjoy his coffee in a T-shirt.

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