Paris Hilton will be getting a little something in the mail from Hallmark this year.
The socialite has settled a lawsuit against the company over a greeting card that featured a scene seemingly ripped from her old reality show “The Simple Life.” The caption read “Paris’s First Day as a Waitress” and made a pun on her trademarked catch phrase, “That’s Hot.” In 2007, Hilton sued, claiming her publicity rights had been violated.
Last week, attorneys for Hilton and Hallmark advised a California judge that they had reached a settlement. A confidentiality provision limits the release of exact terms, but it’s believed Hilton walked away with a favorable package.
When the heiress filed suit in 2007, Hallmark struck back with a free-speech defense.
The case made its way up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which handed Hilton a huge legal victory last year. The appeals court rejected Hallmark’s protected-speech argument and raised doubts that the greeting card was “transformative” expression. The case was remanded back to a lower court.
Since then, the two sides have been preparing for a December trial. Evidence was being collected to ascertain the commercial value of Hilton’s endorsement.
Now, pending a judge’s blessing, the case is over.
Hilton’s name will be stamped in law review articles discussing the tricky balance between publicity rights and the First Amendment — but we may never know exactly what Hilton’s publicity is really worth.