The Trek Farley. Photo: Aaron Chamberlain.

Trek and the family of late comedian Chris Farley recently settled a lawsuit over Farley’s brand and image and Trek’s fat bike line for an undisclosed amount.

Last year in September, the Make Him Smile foundation, which is said to be run by the comedian’s brother, Kevin Farley, filed a suit alleging that Trek appropriated the Farley name and image in naming the fat bike. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff (Make Him Smile), “believes its damages for the alleged causes of action herein exceed $10 million.”

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Farley was born in Madison, Wisconsin, 25 miles away from Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo. He joined Saturday Night Live in 1990 and played the lead character in movies like Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja. His weight had always been a selling point for his comedy.

“When he died in December 18, 1997, he was five feet nine inches tall, and weighed approximately 400 pounds. Farley spent his entire career building, then capitalizing on his unique brand of ‘fat guy’ humor and acting style,” says the lawsuit.

Photo: Flickr

The suit also says, “Farley’s name, identity and persona and all of the other Farley intellectual property, are recognized instantly by the general public throughout the world and have substantial commercial value due to Farley’s carefully crafting his identity as a comedian when he was alive.”

The lawsuit alleges that John Burke, Trek’s CEO, knew and socialized with the Farley family “over many decades.”

“Trek has never used Chris Farley’s likeness, image or endorsement in connection to its Farley line of bikes,” Trek spokesman Eric Bjorling told Bicycle Retailer last year.

The lawsuit was first filed in California, but was moved to Wisconsin this month, according to the New York Times. It’s unclear whether the move influenced the settlement. According to Outside magazine, Trek will continue to use the Farley name as part of the settlement.

# Comments

  • mongwolf

    IMO, the family should be honored that Trek used the name. Geez, I’m so sick of sue-crazy America. A bunch of greedy money-grabbing imo. I didn’t even know of this comedian … but I can guarantee you that now I will NEVER search up his name nor this foundation.

  • Gottatrysomething

    It was some weird coincidence that the name Farley was used in naming these MTBs…I mean that’s the first thing that came to my mind when looking at Trek initially.

  • marvinmartian

    I was a Chris Farley fan, not a huge fan but I liked his work. I never even thought of him in association with the Farley bike until I saw this article

  • crevasse

    The only thing the 2 have on common is that they are too heavy. I think I’m going to sue Canyon for their Dude fat bike because my friends have been calling me dude for decades.

  • sentientcalifornian

    completely inappropriate and over reaching when the name farley is actually common and trek never used the fat guy’s image… chris farley wasn’t funny or in any way an example for anyone to emulate but was an overweight unhealthy person… trek should countersue for frivolous prosecution…

  • Gregory98

    This was an obvious, and clever rip on Chris Farley’s name and fame.

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