Comedian Chris Farley often utilized his weight and energy as a source of humor on programs like Saturday Night Live. Now, Farley’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against bike manufacturer Trek Bicycle for naming its fat-tired wheels after him.


According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Make Him Smile Inc., a company founded by Farley’s family to protect his rights, asserts Trek’s Farley wheels inappropriately misappropriated the late comedian’s name and “fat guy” brand. The organization also suggests the damages could exceed $10 million. Interestingly, the lawsuit was filed back in September, though it was transferred to a Los Angeles federal court after a few weeks.

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Trek, however, argues the case hinges on whether Farley was legally a Californian resident at the time of his death, noting that a Californian law “governs deceased celebrities’ right of publicity.” Trek’s legal team adds that Farley died in Chicago while being legally recognized as an Illinois citizen at the time, meaning they can utilize Farley’s name.

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On June 1, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled, per Trek’s wishes, that the case would be heard at the U.S. District Court in Madison, which is located near where all relevant parties are situated. Farley was born and raised in Madison, whereas Trek is situated in Waterloo. The two towns are roughly 30 miles apart.

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