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.