Steve McQueen's estate sues over clothing line

NEW YORK Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:06pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Steve McQueen's estate sued a clothing company on Tuesday, alleging the unauthorized use of the late film star's image and name as part of its "Steve McQueen Celebration" line of fashion and accessories.

The McQueen heirs accuse Clothing Company S.P.A. and parent company Belstaff USA and Belstaff International LTD of "willful and brazen unauthorized use of the name, image, signature and likeness" of the actor known as the King of Cool for his roles in films in the 1960s and 1970s.

British-born Belstaff, whose trademark biker jackets were a favorite of soldier and writer T.E. Lawrence, is owned by Italy's Malenotti family. A company representative was not immediately available for comment.

The suit alleges a representative of Belstaff contacted the estate in 2007 requesting a license for use of McQueen's image on a clothing and accessories line which was denied after negotiations broke down.

In August 2007, the company began producing the line anyway, the lawsuit said.

Belstaff's actions jeopardize "the goodwill and value" of the McQueen trademark.

The actor, who died at age 50 in 1980, starred in such films as "Bullitt," "Papillon" and "The Towering Inferno."

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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