Corel Corp. today disputed charges brought in a lawsuit filed last month in Orange County, Florida., by movie legend Hedy Lamarr. The suit seeks compensation from the Ottawa-based software firm for unauthorized use of Lamarr's name and image on its Internet site and packages of CorelDraw 8 software.
In the suit, Lamarr's lawyers seek at least $15,000 and charge that Corel has used the Lamarr's image and name to sell CorelDraw 8 since last November. CorelDraw 8 is an illustration and page layout program.
Corel said the lawsuit was served on March 12. "We do not agree with any of the claims being advanced by the plaintiff," said company spokeswoman Sue Ann Wright. "Corel has not commercially exploited Ms. Lamarr's image. Her image is not being used in an endorsement context -- end users purchase CorelDraw 8 because of the features and functionality that this software product contains -- not because the winning entry from our 1996 World Design Contest (titled "Hedy Lamarr") is used on packaging for this product."
Lamarr's attorney said the fact that his client's likeness is being used because it was in the winning entry of a Corel art contest was irrelevant. "It's still being used for commercial purposes. It's difficult for me to understand their position since her picture appears on CorelDraw 8 and a few subproducts," said Michael McDonnell, Lamarr's attorney in Naples, Florida. "She has no desire for her picture to be out there. She wants her privacy."
The 84-year-old Lamarr, who appeared in films during the 1940s, has another link to the technology industry. In 1942, the actress and her partner, George Antheil, invented and patented the concept of "frequency hopping," the basis for the spread-spectrum radio systems used in cellular phones, wireless networking systems and other products. She lives in Seminole County, Florida. She was recently honored for that invention by Electronic Frontier Foundation.