Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rihanna sues Topshop for T-shirts.

Musical superstar Rihanna is suing British fashion retailer Topshop for $5 million dollars for selling t-shirts bearing her image  from the 'We Found Love' video. She hired a London legal team to plead her case before Her Majesty's High Court of Justice. The case is currently in the pretrial phase.

The t-shirt has been on sale since the end of last year. And when Ri-Ri found out about it, she and TopShop  negotiated for eight months regarding the rights to her image. But all hell broke lose when Topshop offered the popstar a low $5000. I'm guessing that's when she hit them with the "hell naw" and sued  them.

But the true question is what issue will Rihanna plea? In the U.S., this case is a common 'Right to Publicity" case. This case arises when a person's image, person, or personality is commercially appropriated without that person's permission. This happens to celebrities and other famous people all day everyday.

 HOWEVER, the U.K. does not have such a lawsuit. WWD reports that in the U.K. "anyone who legally purchases an image can use it, unless it is trademarked." So in order to sue, Ri-Ri's lawyers would have to prove that the Topshop T-shirt portrayed her as "endorsing" the brand.

Rihanna already has a fashion line at Topshop's competitor River Island. So we can count them out as a viable duo for a  future fashion collaboration.


  1. Has she a registered trademark for this image? And even if she does have a trademark, its likely Topshop could argue that it doesn't operate as a trademark guaranteeing origin, because its simply decorative or descriptive (Thinking of the Linkin Park case). If not then surely its a passing-off case?

  2. Thank you for your response. I'm not sure if she has a trademark for this image,or the record company/video producers even. However under UK law Rihanna's team would have to prove that Topshop was endorsing her brand,an argument that Topshop could easily refute... so u may be right. :)