Samsung Sued by Olympians Over Genome Facebook Application

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) was sued by a group of 18 Olympic athletes who claim the “Samsung Olympic Genome Project” application for Facebook uses their names and images without their permission.

The athletes, including swimmer Mark Spitz, diver Greg Louganis, and track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, said in a complaint filed yesterday in state court in Los Angeles that Samsung uses their names and images to create the impression that they endorse its products.

The Facebook application also includes background information about the athletes, as well as an advertisement for Samsung’s Galaxy, and it links to the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s website, according to the complaint.

The athletes seek unspecified damages for misappropriation of their names and images.

Samsung has followed the U.S. Olympic Committee’s procedure to communicate with athletes, who had the opportunity express their opinions and make a decision on whether to participate, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement today.

The case is Mark Spitz v. Samsung, BC483475, California Superior Court (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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