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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Irvine wins photo use damages
Eddie Irvine
Judges ruled initial damages awarded to Irvine were too low
Northern Irish Formula One driver Eddie Irvine has won increased damages of 25,000 against a radio station for using a doctored photograph of him in an advertising leaflet.

Mr Irvine was also relieved from having to pay an estimated 300,000 bill for costs which he had faced following a High Court hearing in 2002.

The original photograph showed Irvine dressed in his racing gear and holding a mobile phone to his ear.

However, the photograph was doctored so that the phone was replaced with a radio bearing the station's logo.

Although he successfully sued TalkSport for its use of the amended photograph in 1999, he was only awarded 2,000 damages.

Mr Justice Laddie had said this represented a "reasonable endorsement fee".

Because these damages were less than the 5,000 out-of-court settlement fee offered by TalkSport, Mr Irvine had to pay their legal costs in addition to his own.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London agreed that the High Court's initial award had been too low.

They ruled that Mr Irvine would have commanded a fee of about 25,000 for the use of his image.

Mr Irvine's counsel, Michael Briggs QC, said earlier in the proceedings that the racing driver's endorsement price was about 25,000 to 35,000.

"This is a case about celebrity endorsement," he said.

"That is what makes money for the celebrities, and sells product for the producers."

At the time, the County Down-born driver was at the peak of his career with Ferrari, and finished second in the drivers' world championships.

The radio station TalkSport was called Talk Radio at the time of the incident.



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