Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher – a player whose exceptional,
bruising play on the field was accentuated by his clean shaven head – has rushed to sack a Florida medical practice the middle linebacker said has wrongly profited from baldly using
Urlacher’s name and hair regrowth success to market his services.
On Feb. 6, Urlacher filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court
in Chicago, alleging the Charles Medical Group, of Boca Raton, Fla., violated
Urlacher’s rights under the Illinois Right of Publicity Act, and
misappropriated Urlacher’s likeness and identity when the Charles practice published
ads and “press releases” using the middle linebacker’s name and alluding to his
successful hair regrowth.
Further, Urlacher alleged the Charles group of embedding
Urlacher’s name in source code on their website “more than a dozen times” to
draw web search traffic to their site.
Urlacher is represented by attorneys with the firm of Reed
Smith LLP, in Chicago.
According to the lawsuit, after Urlacher retired from the
National Football League, he sought the help of Restoration Holdings LLC, which
operates the Restore by Katona clinics, with 10 locations in Chicago and the
suburbs, to regrow his hair. Throughout his playing career, Urlacher had shaved
his head. Photos posted on the Restore website indicated Urlacher had
experienced male pattern baldness.
After the successful treatment using a hair transplant
procedure, Urlacher became a celebrity pitchman for the Restore group, and his
image with a full head of hair was emblazoned on billboards and in ads for
Restore throughout the Chicago area and elsewhere.
Urlacher’s complaint said business for Restore grew wildly
as a result of the Urlacher campaign.
However, in recent weeks, Urlacher’s complaint said the
Charles group, headed by Dr. Glenn Charles, sought to catch a bit of the action
themselves, mentioning Urlacher by name in their ads, even though the Bears
great is not associated with them.
Among other published items, the lawsuit cites blog articles
appearing on the practice’s website, naming Urlacher. The lawsuit alleged these
blog posts should be considered commercial advertising.
Urlacher is seeking damages of at least $100,000.