'Office Space' lawsuit: Actor fights Fox over 'flair'
Looks like somebody’s about to have a case of the Mondays. Todd Duffey, who played Chotchkie’s waiter Brian in the 1999 comedy Office Space, just lost a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Film over the use of his face in merchandise.
The piece in question is part of a box set called the “Office Space Box of Flair“, which includes a 32-page book and 15 “flair” buttons, a reference to the pieces of flair that Jennifer Aniston’s character is required to wear by her boss at Chotchkie’s restaurant. Duffey claims they took the joke too far by putting his face on both the book’s cover and one of the buttons, which, according to Dufrey, under the Lanham Act would be a false endorsement violation.
However, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken sided with Fox, citing the original Day Player Agreement that Duffey signed with Cubicle Inc., the film’s production company, which granted them “all rights throughout the universe” to Duffey’s performance and image for any commercial purposes for the film. Duffrey’s argument was that he granted Cubicle the right to use his image in promotions and not in consumer merchandise. In the judge’s ruling, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, he wrote that Duffey “argues that industry custom requires specific merchandising provisions to convey merchandising rights, but he fails to plead facts in support of any such custom. Duffey argues for an interpretation of the Day Player Agreement that is unreasonable. There is only one reasonable way to read the relevant terms: Duffey granted Cubicle all rights to images of his performance in Office Space, including the right to use his image on Office Space merchandise.”
Clearly, Jennifer Aniston had a much better lawyer in the ’90s or else we might have been pinning her face to our flair instead.