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Court denies Ryan Guettler's request for injunction against Walmart and Hyper

Published February 5, 2020

LOS ANGELES (BRAIN) — A district court judge has denied BMXer Ryan Guettler’s request for an injunction that would prevent Walmart and Hyper BMX from selling products with his likeness.

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Guettler is suing the companies, charging that they are improperly using his image in photos on the packaging of some SNAFU-branded bike accessories sold at Walmart. 

Guettler said he had an endorsement deal with Hyper from September 2014 through August 2015, allowing Hyper to use his image and likeness in social media promotions for Hyper. He said he never agreed to his image being used on SNAFU packaging and never agreed to Hyper using his image after August 2015.

Sometime after the terms of that deal, Guettler became a contracted social media manager for the brands through the end of 2018.

He became aware of the SNAFU products in Walmart in July last year and filed suit in September.

Guettler has asked the court for an injunction that, among other things, would require Walmart and Hyper to recall the products that contain his image. 

However, Hyper’s lawyers said Guettler never had an agreement that would prevent it from using his image. Furthermore, they point out that Hyper licensed the SNAFU brand to Todson, which sold the products to Walmart. As part of the agreement, Hyper provided Todson with the packaging images, but Hyper didn’t manufacture or sell the products to Walmart. Todson is not named in the suit.

Apparently any agreements between Guettler and Hyper were oral. The only written contract produced is from a 2017 email that called for Guettler to be paid $1,250 per month from both Hyper and Snafu in exchange for videos, social media posts, and catalog and display ad images. 

District Judge Dale S. Fischer said he denied the injunction request because the evidence presented so far does not clearly favor either side.

“Although (Guettler) may subjectively believe that he did not give Hyper or Snafu consent, it is far from clear that he ever communicated that limitation in a way that would cause a reasonable person to believe there was no consent,” Fischer wrote. 

SNAFU product photos from court filings.

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