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GM wins Einstein ad lawsuit, hires 3,000 from HP

October 18, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (Getty Images )

General Motors is winning the nerd wars.

Earlier this week, it prevailed against Hebrew University of Jerusalem in a lawsuit over the use of the image of Albert Einstein in a People magazine advertisement in 2009.

Then the automaker said Thursday that it would hire 3,000 workers from Palo Alto tech giant Hewlett-Packard Co.

According to the Detroit News, the Einstein ad for the GMC Terrain SUV depicted the face of the famous physicist on top of a fit, muscular man with the line, "Ideas are sexy too."

The Israeli university owns Einstein's publicity rights and sued the automaker. But U.S. District Judge Howard Matz ruled Monday that Einstein is perhaps the ultimate public figure.

Matz wrote that Einstein is "the symbol and embodiment of genius. His persona has become thoroughly ingrained in our cultural heritage. Now, nearly 60 years after his death, that persona should be freely available to those who seek to appropriate it as part of their own expression, even in tasteless ads."

GM had said that it believed that the Leo Burnett agency that worked on the advertisement had purchased a legitimate license to the image from Getty Images. The automaker declined to comment on the resolution of the lawsuit.

The Hewlett-Packard move is part of GM's efforts to retool its information technology systems. The 3,000 HP employees are already working on GM's business and will transition to the automaker's payroll.

"These agreements with HP will enable us to accelerate the progress of our IT transformation by delivering increased innovation and speed of delivery to our GM business partners, and reduce the cost of ongoing IT operations," said GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott. "Transforming our internal IT operations will give us the resources, tools and flexibility we need to provide better services and products to our global GM customers."

The shift is part of GM's efforts to move away from outsourcing basic functions. As part of the initiative, GM has announced new IT centers in Austin, Texas, and Warren, Mich., and said it plans to create two more centers.

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