The renowned singer/entertainer Chubby Checker hired a couple of old friends to defend his coveted trademarks and his name. The same team of Willie E. Gary and Michael I. Santucci who, along with the late Johnnie L. Cochran, were awarded the largest single verdict ever granted against the Walt Disney Company at the time ($240,000,000), are now representing the Chubby Checker brand in a trademark infringement suit against another international corporate giant, the Hewlett-Packard Company and one of their subsidiaries.
Fort Lauderdale intellectual property attorney Michael Santucci, who initiated the lawsuit in a federal district court in California with attorney James L. Brown, is now joined by famed attorney Willie E. Gary as his partner who was just this week admitted to the case. As Florida based attorneys, they were both recently approved to practice before the District Court in California pro hac vice. Mr. Gary is noted for being awarded some of the largest legal verdicts ever rendered in the U.S. including a $500 million dollar verdict in a Mississippi case, the largest single jury award in U.S. history at the time.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case #3:13-cv-02477, alleges that Hewlett Packard and co-defendant Palm, Inc. damaged the Chubby Checker brand and tarnishing Mr. Ernest Evans’, a.k.a. “Chubby Checker,” name with sexual innuendo and sexual references in the advertisement of their smart phone app called “The Chubby Checker.” “They had no right, permission or license to use the protected name of Chubby Checker” said attorney Michael Santucci, “and by using it in such a disparaging manner they have irreparably damaged the name and brand of an American icon”.
Mr. Evans, better known as “Chubby Checker” is credited with changing the American music landscape with his classic dance song “The Twist.” He made numerous world-wide appearances including with the music industry legend Dick Clark on his famed American Bandstand. His recording of “The Twist” was selected by Billboard Magazine as the #1 all-time song on its “Hot 100” chart on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of that chart.