Judge Denies HIAA’s Request for an Injunction Against ‘Harry and Louise’ Cloning Ads
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on Wednesday denied the Health Insurance Association of America's motion for a preliminary injunction in its suit to block television advertisements supporting therapeutic cloning that feature characters used in a previous HIAA ad campaign that opposed President Clinton's 1993 health care plan, the Washington Post reports (Sarasohn, Washington Post, 5/17). HIAA sued both CuresNow, the pro-therapeutic -cloning coalition that sponsored the ads, and Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli, the agency that created both sets of ads, for copyright infringement. HIAA alleged that CuresNow "unfairly appropriated" the fictitious couple, "Harry and Louise," and that the new ads are "affecting [HIAA's] public image" (American Health Line, 5/3). However, attorneys for CuresNow argued that HIAA never trademarked the names and said that the actors portraying the couple were only under contract for two years (Carter, AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 5/16). Walton, while not ruling on the copyright issue, said that there was no "clear evidence regarding HIAA's alleged ownership of the copyrights." He added that CuresNow "would clearly be harmed" if it were forced to suspend the ads permanently, adding, "At this critical time in the debate [on therapeutic cloning], continued debate on the issue is of utmost importance to the legislative process" (Washington Post, 5/17). A lawsuit on the merits of the case will continue. CuresNow, which suspended the "Harry and Louise" ads while the lawsuit was pending, said it plans to begin airing the ads again "as soon as possible" (Wall Street Journal, 5/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.