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Friday, November 04, 2005, 02:25 pm PT (05:25 pm ET)

Lugz sends Apple cease-and-desist over Eminem spot

Lugz footwear has sent a cease-and-desist letter to both Apple Computer and its ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, over similarities between a commercial "Arrow," which Lugz aired in 2002, and a spot with Eminem that launched earlier this month for Apple's iPod and iTunes, AdWeek is reporting.

Both television spots are strikingly similar — as first noted in an October 13 AppleInsider report — featuring urban images on a red, yellow and orange background, with black silhouettes dancing to a hip-hop soundtrack.

Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and a principal of New York-based JSSI, which makes Lugz, said in a statement: "If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there's a problem here. The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar. We are prepared to vigorously pursue all legal remedies in order to protect our rights."

Immediately following the debut of the Eminem iTunes spot last month, Apple abruptly pulled copies of the commercial from its website with out offering an explanation. Speculation as to the reasons behind Apple's move ran wild for a couple of days before the commercial ultimately aired on network television and reappeared on the company's website.

Ironically, in February of 2004, Eminem's record label, Eight Mile Style, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit against MTV, Apple, MTV's parent Viacom Inc. and advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, claiming that Apple used one of the rapper's hit songs in an advertisement for iTunes without permission.

A year later, Apple settled the lawsuit with Eminem for an undisclosed cash sum that was rumored to have been in the millions.