We can't believe we're writing this sentence, but here it is: Pizza Pan is involved in a lawsuit over the exclusive right to use the likeness of Browns wide receiver Brian Robiskie in the "quick-service" restaurant industry in Ohio.
Yes, there's not just one pizza chain that desperately wants to use Brian Robiskie to sell pie; there are two. Perhaps people who run pizza shops don't watch football and are unaware that Brian Robiskie is not a suitable spokesman for... well, anything.
Anyway, onto the legal matter.
According to Leagle, back in June 2009 Pizza Pan — that purveyor of truly, astoundingly bad pizza, which is evident by their "Buy one, get 17 free" deals — hooked up with The Sports Link, Inc., for the exclusive rights to Robiskie's name and image "within the quick-service restaurant industry in Ohio." Robiskie's agent, Michael Ornstein, who also works at Sports Link, brokered the deal.
Frederick Peters, owner of Pizza Pan, contends he made it super clear that the deal was only useful to Pizza Pan if no one else could use Robiskie's image. After all, that would just confuse the consumer, because football players are only allowed to fake like one food at a time.
Peters stated that throughout the negotiations with Sports Link and Ornstein, he made it clear to them that "it was very important for Pizza Pan to have this exclusive relationship, and the right to exclusivity was essential to Pizza Pan's decision to enter into the Endorsement Agreement." Peters further said that "Ornstein and Sports Link affirmatively represented to [him] that they had the authority to grant Pizza Pan the exclusive right to Robiskie's likeness for advertising purposes." Based on these representations, Pizza Pan signed the Endorsement Agreement drafted by Sports Link and Ornstein.
Done. Except four months later, Pizza Pan Man saw that Donatos was using Robiskie's image on a collector's cup — which, in and of itself, is hilarious. Surely Donatos could have better spent their money than focusing on the three people who desire a Brian Robiskie collector's cup. Anyway...
Peters called Ornstein who said that — whoops! — Sports Link actually didn't have the authority to grant Pizza Pan exclusive advertising rights. There was a little matter of Robiskie signed a group licensing agreement with the NFL Player's Association which gave them the right give other businesses the right to use Robiskie's image and name.
Peters sued Sports Link claiming they concealed information during contract negotiations. A court dismissed the suit, and surprisingly not for the reason of, "Your pizza sucks." Pizza Pan appealed the decision and won, and that is where we stand today.
Important note: To this date, no one has bought anything because it was endorsed by Brian Robiskie.
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