Apple had a product with the code name Carl Sagan. Once the
prominent astronomer learned of the unsanctioned use of his name by Apple,
he made a legal request they quit doing so. Then, according to the
court's opinion, Apple then started calling the product
In dismissing the suit, Judge J. Baird writes:
Furthermore, the tenor of any communication of the information, especially the phrase 'Butt-Head Astronomer,' would negate the impression that Defendant was implying an assertion of fact.
"Plantiff's libel action is based on the allegation that Defendant changed the 'code name' on its personal computer from 'Carl Sagan' to 'Butt-Head Astronomer' after plaintiff had request that Defendant cease use of Plaintiff's name. There can be no question that the use of the figurative term 'Butt-Head' negates the impression that Defendant was seriously implying an assertion of fact. It strains reason to conclude that Defendant was attempting to criticize Plaintiff's reputation or competency as an astronomer. One does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefined phrase 'butt-head.' Thus, the figurative language militates against implying an assertion of fact.