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Haelan Laboratories, Inc. v. Topps Chewing Gum, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
202 F.2d 866 (2d Cir.), 346 U.S. 816 (1953)


Facts

Haelan Laboratories, Inc, (plaintiff) and Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. were rival chewing gum manufacturers. Haelan signed a contract with a baseball player that gave it the exclusive right to use the player’s photograph in connection with its gum. The player agreed to not grant the right to use his picture to any other gum manufacturer. Topps knew of Haelan’s contract, but convinced the player to sign a contract permitting Topps to use the player’s picture in connection with its gum. Haelan sued Topps. Topps argued that as the player’s right to privacy was personal, not assignable, the player’s contract was merely a release of liability for using his picture. As a result, Topps claimed that it did not violate any property interest of Haelan in the player’s right to privacy. The trial court dismissed Haelan’s complaint. Haelan appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Frank, J.)

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