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Careful With That 'Breaking the Sound Barrier' Comparison

Yeager Know this: If you compare your product, service or breakthrough to Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier, you're probably going to wind up in court.

OnPointNews reports that the famous test pilot has sued computer chip maker Advanced Micro Devices over a March 2000 press release in which its CEO, W.J. Sanders, stated: "Just as the achievement of Chuck Yeager signaled the beginning of a new era in aviation, the 1GHz processor ushers in a new era of information technology."

The AMD release went on to cite other famous pioneers, as well, such as Neil Armstrong, Roger Bannister and Edmund Hillary, before proclaiming that "[n]obody remembers who got there second. Today's launch of the 1GHz AMD Athlon processor permanently secures AMD's place in the record books."

In this complaint, filed on Sept. 9, Yeager alleges that AMD created a "subliminal suggestion of endorsement by General Yeager and an implied connection between General Yeager's personal accomplishments and AMD's new product." Yeager claims that the “the clear impression upon the public that there was an implied endorsement by General Yeager of AMD's new product line” was false. He asserts the violation of both common law and statutory rights of privacy in California, among other causes of action.

OnPointNews notes that Yeager similarly sued Cingular Wireless (now AT&T) in November 2007 after the company compared its new hurricane response service to the breaking of the sound barrier in a press release. AT&T's motion for summary judgment in that case is scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 30.

Posted by Bruce Carton on October 6, 2009 at 03:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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