Manu Fernandez, Associated Press
Woody Allen

Woody Allen, star of the 2006 film "Scoop" and director of 2005's "Match Point," sued clothing retailer American Apparel Inc. for $10 million for using his image without permission on billboards.

American Apparel in May used an image of Allen from a film on billboards in New York and Hollywood, the 72-year-old filmmaker said in the complaint. The ads include a Yiddish phrase translated as "the Holy Rebbe," he said.

American Apparel "utilized Allen's image and identity in total disregard of his rights to privacy and publicity, his exclusive property rights and his personal rights," Allen claims in the trademark suit, filed Monday in federal court in New York.

The Los Angeles-based company never contacted Allen, who lives in New York, according to the complaint. Allen said the use of his image is especially egregious because he doesn't endorse or sponsor any products in the U.S.