Appropriation of Personality

In a decision released recently, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Hay v. Platinum Equities, 2012 ABQB 204 granted damages for the appropriation of personality of a “non-celebrity”.

Justice Brooker held that the plaintiff, a professional accountant, had proven the tort of appropriation of personality during the trial. The Court found that the plaintiff’s name had been used by the defendant for its own commercial advantage.

[73] … A professional’s name and reputation is entitled to be protected from unauthorized commercial exploitation every bit as much as a celebrity’s name and likeness.

Damages were awarded on the basis of what the plaintiff would have likely charged, based on the evidence before the court, for the accounting reports had the plaintiff been retained for the services [89].