By Winnie Kabintie
Athlete Joseph Kibunja, a track guide of the popular blind Paralympic Henry Wanyoike, has sued Rohto Mentholatum (K) Limited, for using his image to advertise its pain relief product (Deep Heat) without his consent.
According to Kibunja, the company has been using his image to promoted the product on social media and his protests to have them withdraw the content until an agreement is reached has fell on deaf ears.
Through his advocate Gitobu Imanyara, Kibunja is seeking to have the company restrained from using his image in any promotional work on social media platforms pending the hearing and determination of his case.
“pending the hearing and determination of this Suit, the Respondents either by themselves, their servants, employees, agents and/or assignees be restrained from using the Plaintiff/Applicant’s image to promote their product known as “Deep Heat” on the social media platform, www.facebook.com or in any other media on which they promote and advertise the said product,” reads a section of the suit filed Gitobu Imanyara& Co. Advocates.
The suit further states that the company has continued to use the athlete’s image in its promotions, even after he raised complaints on the same and has never compensated him.
“The Applicant is a professional athlete who has worked hard to develop his reputation as such, and out of which reputation he has developed a deep seated proprietary interest in his name as well as his image. The Respondents continue to profit from the usage of the Plaintiff/Applicant’s image without any benefit to him whatsoever.”
Wanyoike has on his end distanced himself from Kibunja’s allegations saying that he’s only being “greedy” and that they were both representatives of the Henry Wanyoike foundation, which signed a contract with Rohto Mentholatum LTD, giving them rights to use both their images.