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Brando estate, Harley settle boot-name scuffle

March 06, 2012

Marlon Brando died in Los Angeles on Thursday 1st July 2004 at the age of 80. -AFP Photo

The estate of Marlon Brando and US motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc backed down from their legal brawl over a boot that bears the late actor's name.    

Brando Enterprises LP and Harley, along with Wolverine Worldwide Inc, which makes the boot, on Monday agreed to settle a suit over the unlicensed use of the Brando name on a Harley-branded boot that resembled the ones Brando wore when he played Johnny Strabler in the 1953 movie “The Wild One.”

The film, in which Brando sported sideburns, a black leather jacket and calf-high black leather boots with buckles, helped launch Brando's career as a Hollywood icon; he also starred in films including “The Godfather” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

The companies said in a filing in federal court in California that they had settled their dispute, but did not disclose the terms of the settlement.

Harley spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim declined to provide further details. Representatives of Brando Enterprises and Wolverine Worldwide could not be reached for immediate comment.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker has an extensive licensing business, and last year generated $43.2 million selling the rights to use its name on products including T-shirts, jewelry and toys.

When it first filed the suit in May 2011, Brando Enterprises sought financial damages, including profits made as a result of the use of the Brando name.

It noted that the Brando name had already been licensed to several companies making a range of products, including the Triumph motorcycle, which Brando rode in “The Wild One.”

The case is Brando Enterprises LP v. Harley-Davidson, Wolverine Worldwide et al, US District Court, District of California, No. 11-5473.