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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Michelin sue over 'guide to jail'
Mr Tzabar faces bankruptcy if forced to pay compensation over the guide
A 78-year-old from north-west London is due before the High Court on Monday to defend himself against Michelin.

The multi-national company is suing Shimon Tzabar because the cover of a political pamphlet he wrote is designed to look like a Michelin guidebook.

Michelin is demanding compensation and Mr Tzabar faces bankruptcy.

He says the pamphlet - Much Better than the Official Michelin Guide to Israeli prisons, Jails, Concentration Camps and Torture Chambers - is clearly a spoof.

But the company said his depiction of the Michelin man, with one arm raised and a tyre in his other hand, infringed its trademark rights.

Mr Tzabar said the pamphlet, which criticises the Israeli Government's treatment of Palestinians, was given out free or for a small donation to cover the cost of printing and postage.

The way I used the name of Michelin in the cover of the spoof, could only add to their reputation, not to damage it
Shimon Tzabar
It invites readers to begin its "guided tour of Israel's prisons, concentration camps and torture chambers" by being arrested.

The pamphlet says: "The safest way to be arrested, although this also carries a risk with it, is to look like a Palestinian Arab.

"Once you look like a Palestinian you have a good chance of being arrested.

"Your chance is actually so good, that you don't have to do anything in particular."

In a letter to the High Court, Mr Tzabar says: "The cover of the pamphlet is a visual satire, to fit the style of the text.

Michelin man
The firm says the Michelin man's depiction infringes trademark rights

"The idea came to me from the Campbell Soup silk-screen print, by the artist Andy Warhol.

"He took a commercial logo and made an art object out of it.

"Since I am also an artist I thought that I can create something in the same spirit.

"The way I used the name of Michelin in the cover of the spoof, could only add to their reputation, not to damage it.

"I used their name to make the international public aware that Israel is trying to eliminate the Palestinians.

"Being a French company, I was sure that they would know what satire is and would have enough sense of humour to tolerate a spoof based on one of their products, especially for such an humanitarian cause."

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