Intellectual Property Attorney

The King Lives On: Elvis Presley’s Intellectual Property Rights Acquired By Authentic Brands

In the licensing business, celebrity licensing refers to granting the right to a third party to use the name, image, brand or likeness of a celebrity. For example, Jessica Simpson has licensed the right to use her name and likeness in connection with footwear and Cindy Crawford has done the same in connection with home furnishings.

By acquiring these rights under license, a third party can utilize them in the promotion or sale of their goods or services. A celebrity who licenses intellectual property related to their image, name, or likeness is allowing a third party (usually a group or business) to use those assets for the benefit of the third party’s business interests. In exchange for granting the licensing rights, the celebrity receives financial compensation, typically in the form of royalties.

There is no doubt that celebrity licensing is big business, but what about deceased celebrities? As reported by the New York Post, Authentic Brands Group recently acquired Elvis Presley’s intellectual property rights for an undisclosed sum, believed to be at least $125 million. The rights, previously owned by Core Media Group, include Elvis’s image, name and likeness, as well as merchandising rights to his photos, movies, television appearances, album artwork and much of his music. These rights are believed to be currently worth approximately $32 million per year. In contrast, it has been reported that Elvis earned a total of $100 million during his lifetime.

Authentic Brands Group has also acquired the rights to a number of other deceased celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe and Bob Marley, obviously seeking to cash in on the goodwill associated with these famous names. In addition, the company has acquired certain intellectual property rights of Muhammad Ali (who is still alive), including the rights to his catchphrases “Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee”, “Thrilla in Manila” and “Greatest Of All Time”, which are protected by trademark registrations.

Those looking to venture into the niche area of celebrity licensing should contact an experienced celebrity licensing attorney for guidance.

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