French cosmetics giant Lancome and Uma Thurman are wrangling over the use of her name and image in an advertising campaign.
The company asked for a ruling against the actress, who it says is demanding $1 million for unauthorized use of her name and face on Canadian billboards and Asian Web sites after her contract expired.
Thurman’s lawyer, Bertram Fields, said he was surprised by Lancome’s lawsuit.
“I thought we were negotiating in good faith,” Fields said Thursday. “I guess the French decided to strike a pre-emptive blow.”
Lancome and Thurman signed a two-year contract in April 2000 with an option to extend the agreement for another two years.
Under the terms, Lancome agreed to pay Thurman $5.8 million for the first two years and $3.1 million for each additional year, if the company exercised its option.
Lancome claims the contract relieves the company of responsibility if third parties use her name and face after the contract lapses.
Lancome’s lawyer, Peter D. Raymond, said his client “can’t control everybody out in the world.”
The papers were filed Wednesday in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court. Earlier this week, 37-year-old Jack Jordan was convicted of stalking and harassing Thurman in the court’s criminal part.
“I’m delighted that the case will go before a jury,” Thurman’s lawyer said. “They got an enormous benefit throughout the world after the contract was over, and $1 million doesn’t begin to do it.”