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Smith v. Montoro

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
648 F.2d 602 (1981)


Paul Smith (plaintiff) starred in a film produced by an Italian film company. In the United States, the film was distributed by Edward Montoro and Film Venture International, Inc. (Film Venture) (defendants). The defendants changed Smith’s name to “Bob Spencer” in the film’s credits and in the film’s advertising material. Smith sued the defendants for, among other things, reverse passing off under the Lanham Act. The district court dismissed Smith’s reverse-passing-off claim, holding that Smith had failed to state a valid Lanham Act claim. The court held that the Lanham Act only prohibited misusing the plaintiff’s name, which is known as a passing-off claim, and did not prohibit mislabeling the plaintiff’s services with someone else’s name, which is known as a reverse-passing-off claim. Smith appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pregerson, J.)

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