Clooney clone can keep trashing competitors' coffee, Israeli court says

Coffee competitor Espresso Club used Clooney lookalike to ridicule rival's ads, which Nespresso claimed was 'parasitic use of the worst kind' in court case.



A Tel Aviv court will allow a coffee competitor to continue running its ads against Nespresso - using a lookalike to make fun of George Clooney, the famous actor who stars in the Nespresso commercials all over the world. The Tel Aviv District court turned down a request for a restraining order against the commercials promoting Espresso Club, which makes its own coffee machines and capsules, the Israeli business newspaper Calcalist reported Sunday.

Espresso Club is aiming at a different clientele, one looking to save money and not impressed by the "high status" image of Nespresso - and Clooney, said the judge in his ruling last week. The judge also awarded Espresso Club 58,500 shekels ($14,825) in court costs and lawyers' fees - to be paid by Nespresso.

The Tel Aviv District Court also ruled that Clooney's image is not protected by intellectual property law. Otherwise his image would belong solely to the company and he would be unable to advertise any other products.

In addition to asking for the restraining order against the commercials, Nespresso also asked the court to award it 200,000 in civil damages for abusing its reputation - calling the ads "parasitic use of the worst kind."

In another unrelated blow to Nespresso, owned by Swiss company Nestle, Swiss company Ethical Coffee announced it is suing Nespresso for 150 million euros for violating its patents, by making changes in its machines that keep ECC's capsules from working - and jamming the coffee machines.