A federal appeals court in San Francisco has reinstated a lawsuit filed by entertainer Bette Midler after an advertising agency allegedly tried to duplicate her voice and singing style in one of its ad campaigns.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals unanimously ruled Wednesday, that Midler could pursue her suit against the Ford Motor Co. and the Young & Rubicam advertising agency. The court said certain personal attributes - such as a voice - can be considered property rights, protected by state law.The television ad campaign featured one of Midler's former backup singers performing "Do You Want To Dance" in an ad for the Mercury Sable car.

The agency's ads included nine original singers and 10 "sound-alikes" for its series the court said.