The estate of famed musician Elvis Presley filed a lawsuit against Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A last week, claiming that the gun maker used the likeness of the late singer to sell shotguns. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Elvis estate is demanding an injunction on any Elvis-related advertising campaigns as well as monetary damages above $75,000.
The advertising in question is for the Beretta Model 692 over-under shotgun. In 2012, the gun manufacturer began marketing the firearm with ads that included an image of a man in Elvis’ iconic white jumpsuit, shooting vest, earmuffs, and the caption “The new legend in clay shooting.”
Beretta followed up with the Elvis theme at the 2013 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, where Elvis impersonators were present at the company’s booth.
“Beretta made a deliberate and intentional decision to tie its new product, model 692, to Elvis and trade on his popularity to generate as much publicity as possible when introducing model 692 to the public,” the estate, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), stated in a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Guns.com.
EPE maintains that it has spent millions to promote and safeguard the intellectual property of Elvis Presley, which is recognized worldwide. EPE claims that it did not authorize Beretta’s Elvis-themed advertising campaign and sent the company a formal cease-and-desist letter earlier this year.
“Elvis’ interest in firearms and target shooting is well-known by his fans and gun aficionados. Gun enthusiasts and Elvis fans also know that Elvis was the owner of a Beretta-made firearm,” EPE stated in the suit, but insists that does not allow Beretta to use his likeness.
Elvis Presley was an enthusiastic gun collector and left behind an impressive array of rare and unique firearms. Although he was partial to silver-plated Colt .45 handguns, one of the most famous pieces of his collection was a gold-plated Beretta Model 70. The singer is also famous for reportedly shooting a television set during a Robert Goulet song.
Beretta has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
You can see an Elvis impersonator perform at the launch of the Model 692 in Australia below: