There are some strange lawsuits out there. here is one for your reading pleasure.

This one goes back to 2008. Taco Bell decided to invite (via letter) 50 Cent to change his name to 99 cent and then promote their 99 cent value menu. From a legal perspective, there is nothing wrong with asking someone to do something like this. There is also no problem with asking someone to endorse your product. So why did this, of all strange lawsuits, come up. Allegedly, Taco Bell failed to ask 50Cent this directly, nor did they send him the letter. Instead they published the letter. 50 Cent learned about this when the published letter was brought to his attention.

Why would he sue? I am sure that 50 Cent did not want another strange lawsuits out there. He has good will in his name and he should be compensated for someone using his name as an enforcement promoting a good or service (or a taco). By publishing the letter, people reading it could be confused and think that 50 Cent is promoting their company. Essentially they were using his name in advertisements without his permission.

So what happens in strange lawsuits like this? In someways we will never know even though 50 Cent had a reasonable claim. Taco Bell settled this matter out of court for an undisclosed sum. Usually these settlements have an agreement that says that no one is acknowledging any wrong doing. They also usually say that the terms of the settlement cannot be disclosed.

What should you take from this? make sure you always get consent, preferably in writing, before you use anything (including names and images) belonging to someone else before you use it.

Here is the link to the USA Today newspaper article. Click here. While this is form 2008, it is still an interesting read.