From our private database of 34,000+ case briefs...
Waits v. Frito-Lay, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
978 F.2d 1093 (1992)
Tom Waits (plaintiff) was an acclaimed singer with a distinctively low, gravelly voice. Waits recorded and toured extensively. In interviews, Waits frequently shared his opinion that product endorsements and commercials compromise a musician’s artistic integrity. Consistent with his expressed views, Waits turned down many lucrative endorsements. Frito-Lay, Inc. (Frito-Lay) (defendant) was a large food manufacturer and distributor. To launch a new flavor of corn chips called SalsaRio Doritos, Frito-Lay hired Tracy-Locke, Inc. (Tracey-Locke) (defendant), an advertising agency. As part of the marketing for SalsaRio Doritos, Tracy-Locke modeled a jingle after a song by Waits called “Step Right Up,” mimicking the original song’s rhyme and word play. Tracy-Locke hired Stephen Carter, a professional musician who had spent years covering songs by Waits, to record the jingle. Carter’s impersonation of Waits was almost indistinguishable from the real singer’s voice. The ad aired on over 250 radio stations across the United States. Waits sued Frito-Lay and Tracy-Locke, alleging: (1) voice misappropriation in violation of his right of publicity under California state law and (2) false endorsement under the Lanham Act. At trial, Waits presented his vocal recordings to compare with the ad’s sound. Additionally, several witnesses testified that they believed Waits was the singer in the ad. The jury found for Waits, awarding him: (1) $375,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages for voice misappropriation, and (2) $100,000 in damages for the Lanham Act violation. The defendants appealed, arguing, among other things, that: (1) Waits lacked standing to sue under the Lanham Act because he was not directly competing with the defendants, and (2) the Lanham Act claim failed on its merits because the ad did not represent that Waits endorsed SalsaRio Doritos.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Boochever, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 608,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 608,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 34,000 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.