by Paul Alan Levy
Muhammad Ali's estate has sued Fox for running a promotion for its Superbowl broadcast that contrasted Ali''s greatness with the greatness of various football players. Originally filed in the Northern District of Illinois, the complaint alleged claims under both the Lanham Act and the Illinois right of publicity.
It is hard to see the right of publicity claim surviving a motion to dismiss considering First Amendment and statutory limits on the right of publicity, but, in addition to seeking dismissal on those grounds, after the case was transferred with mutual consent to the Northern District of California, Fox moved to dismiss but also sought to strike under California's anti-SLAPP statute. The brief contains an interesting approach to the choice of law question,in light of the fact that Ali's estate is a California operation and the defendant is located there as well.