Microsoft’s year-old “Really?” Windows Phone adverts, which show various smartphone owners getting into trouble , have been made the focus of a lawsuit from novelty gift firm Cellrderm, which accuses the Redmond-based company and advertising agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky of copying its ad campaign.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, suggests Microsoft and Crispin Porter & Bogusky deliberatly leveraged the idea to show a man drop his smartphone in a urinal and also to include a executive type who ignores sexual advances from his frustrated wife.
In the suit, Cellrderm, which makes a spoof “cellular abuse aid,” claims the defendants’ ads copy its own commercials for its gag gift.
“The Microsoft Commercials copy both the sequence of events and the character interplay found in the Cellrderm Commercials,” the lawsuit says. “The Microsoft Commercials also copy other copyrightable expression, including but not limited to clothing, gestures, character appearance, camera angles, and other visual elements from the Cellrderm Commercials.”
We have embedded the two Cellrderm commericals and Microsoft’s ads side-by-side below (CellrDerm left, Microsoft right):
The adverts certainly have similar themes. Whether Microsoft and its ad agency stole the idea is unknown, especially as both companies have not immediately responded to requests for comment.
Cellrderm has asks for an injunction to prevent the distribution of the Microsoft adverts, requests profits derived from the ads and other damages which would be determined at trial.