On Thursday, Britain’s Court of Appeal confirmed an earlier decision that Topshop infringed the rights of Rihanna.
Topshop infringed Rihanna’s rights by selling a T-shirt brandishing her image on it. The problem is that Topshop used Riihanna’s image without her permission.
Last November, Topshop had appealed a decision by a judge at Her Majesty’s High Court in London, which prohibited Topshop from selling T-shirts featuring an image of Rihanna.
In 2013, the court issued an injunction requiring Topshop to refrain from selling Rihanna T-shirts without clearly informing customers that the garment is not endorsed, authorized, or approved by Rihanna.
The image causing this fashion law trouble is a still of Rihanna’s face from her “We Found Love” music video. The image was emblazoned on a T-shirt that Topshop sold in 2012. The Rihanna shirts were no longer stocked when the case made it to court.
The judge presiding over this fashion law case ruled that the Topshop shirt was damaging to Rihanna’s goodwill and represented a loss of control over her reputation.
Basically, the Topshop Rihanna shirts in question created a misrepresentation as to origin.
Would you have thought this Topshop shirt was endorsed by Rihanna?
Topshop’s creations could be misleading and therefore create a false misrepresentation leading to wrongfully “passing off.”
This fashion law related ruling does not mean that other images of Rihanna or other celebrities on merchandise would necessarily suggest that the product is authorized by the celebrity depicted.