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Thursday, July 15, 1999 Published at 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK


Lara saved from Playboy

Lara Croft, decorously dressed

Playboy Magazine has been banned from featuring Lara Croft as a cover girl - much to the disappointment of the "human incarnation" of the Tomb Raider heroine.

The High Court ruled on Wednesday that the magazine could not print the name of computer-generated Ms Croft alongside nude pictures of model Nell McAndrew.

[ image:
"The real-life incarnation of Lara Croft"
Ms McAndrew, 25, a former bank clerk from Leeds who spent a year doing promotional work for the game as its heroine, said she was surprised by the ruling.

Speaking at what was meant to be the launch of the August issue of Playboy, she said: "All I can say is the pictures are very natural in a tropical setting and I'm very pleased with the results."

The pictures, which were taken in Tahiti three months ago, were "tasteful", she said - and she was wearing a bikini on the front cover picture.

'Tarnished for all time'

The High Court ruling followed claims by the owners of the Tomb Raider trademark that Lara Croft's "squeaky clean image" could be "tarnished for all time" by association with Playboy.

[ image: Her
Her "squeaky-clean" image could have been damaged
Core Design Ltd said it had refused permission for Playboy to use its images, but the magazine went ahead anyway.

Playboy had argued that it was a "top-quality publication" whose "honest use" of the Lara Croft trademark would enhance the reputation of the Tomb Raider game.

But High Court judge Mr Justice Lloyd agreed that there could have been a breach of trademark. He ordered the name Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider logo to be covered up from the cover, although a two-page photo feature inside will be unaffected.

Core Design also agreed it could do nothing about the 5,000 copies of Playboy already distributed to UK subscribers, or similar material on the magazine's Website.

Mr Justice Lloyd made no findings on Core Design's additional allegations of breach of copyright and "passing off", which will be decided at a full hearing of the case.

The August edition of the magazine is expected to be delayed for a week, while stickers are placed over the logos.

The ruling does not apply to copies of the magazine sold in America, where the issue is already on sale and has sold a reported 1.5 million copies in just a week.

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