A depiction of a buffed up Albert Einstein does not provide grounds for a lawsuit, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz in Los Angeles has decided. He has ended Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s lawsuit against General Motors LLC over Einstein’s postmortem right of publicity. The judge said the New Jersey Supreme Court “would likely find that the [Garden State’s] common law postmortem right of publicity endures for no more than 50 years after death” and that California’s right of publicity statute does not apply to the university. Einstein died in 1955; his image is now in the public domain. But GM licensed a photo of Einstein’s head from a photo agency, digitally manipulated that image, adding it to a muscular fellow’s torso and ran it in People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive edition as an ad for one of its SUVs.The university took issue, asserting it has exclusive postmortem rights to publicity as a beneficiary under Article 13 of Einstein’s will, which states: “I give and bequeath all of my manuscripts, copyrights, publication rights, royalties and royalty agreements, and all other literary property and rights, of any and every kind or nature whatsoever, to my Trustees hereinafter named, IN TRUST, to hold the same for a term measured by the lives of my secretary Helena Dukas, and my step-daughter, Margot Einstein. … Upon the death of the said Helena Dukas and the said Margot Einstein, this trust shall terminate, and thereupon all funds or property, if any, still held in this trust, including all accrued, accumulated and undistributed income and all literary rights and property, shall pass and be distributed to Hebrew University….” The school also sued under the Lanham Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law, alleging the advertisement caused the false impression that Einstein/Hebrew University endorsed the GM vehicle. In March, the school went to trial to prove both that Einstein intended to bequeath the right of publicity to it and that the automaker had violated its right of publicity with its ad. The U.S. District Court held that New Jersey law preserved Einstein’s heirs’ postmortem right of publicity, but granted GM summary judgment on the false impression of endorsement claim under the Lanham Act. Unfortunately for the university, it was too late to exercise its right of publicity.