In 1994, Apple engineers codenamed the Power Macintosh 7100 “Carl Sagan” hoping the computer would sell “billions and billions” of units, a reference to one of Carl Sagan’s books. But the late astronomer, worried that that the internal-only codename would be construed by the public as an endorsement, sent the company a cease and desist letter. Apple complied—and changed the codename to BHA, short for “butt-headed astronomer.” So Sagan sued for libel.
Winner: Apple. A judge dismissed Sagan’s claims of libel, noting that “one does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefined phrase ‘butt-head’.” But Sagan sued again (this time alleging that his name had been misused), lost again, and then appealed that decision. Apple and Sagan finally settled in 1995, ending the brouhaha.