Lawsuits: Judge Takes Rihanna’s Side In Court Battle With TopShop Over Unapproved T-Shirts Bearing Her Image

- By Bossip Staff

Topshop told her to go to hell and instead RihRih will be laughing on her way to the bank!

Via MailOnline reports:

Pop superstar Rihanna today won a High Court fight with clothing giant Topshop over a T-shirt they sold with her face on it in a case that could be worth £3million.

The singer claimed the ‘unendorsed’ white T-shirt with a photograph of her in a bra top may have damaged her image because fans could have thought it was genuine merchandise.

The Barbadian star, who sued under her real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty, claimed she is entitled to damages from Arcadia Group Brands Ltd, which operates Topshop, over the unauthorized use of her picture.

Topshop disputed her claim but Judge Mr Justice Birss ruled in her favor today after a hearing in London, but will decide on damages at a later date.

Justice Birss said Topshop’s sale of a Rihanna T-shirt at the center of the dispute was an act of ‘passing off’. But he said the ‘mere sale’ of a T-shirt bearing the image of a famous person was not necessarily an act of ‘passing off’.

‘A substantial number of purchasers are likely to (have been) deceived into buying (the) T-shirt because of a false belief that it has been authorized by Rihanna,’ he said.

The judge said that was damaging to her ‘goodwill’ and represented a loss of control over her reputation in the ‘fashion sphere’.

He said it was for the singer not Topshop to choose what garments the public thought were endorsed by her.

The superstar’s team asked the high street clothing chain run by billionaire Sir Phillip Green to stop selling them.

The legal threat came despite the What’s My Name singer having dined with Sir Philip and music mogul Simon Cowell while on her Christmas break to Barbados in 2010
The star tweeted about the Boxing Day meal they had together, saying: ‘Just had dinner w/ Simon Cowell Philip Green @ Sandy Lane! Great night!’

She has also spent time with Sir Philip’s daughter Chloe while holidaying at the same time in the Caribbean two years ago.

It was even rumored she might follow in the footsteps of Kate Moss and design a range for Topshop, but the two parties ended up in court.

Last year Topshop released a T-shirt featuring a picture of Rihanna from her ‘We Found Love’ music video, which sold out quickly afterwards.

This month the court heard that while the singer was claiming the top blighted her image it had not stopped her entourage contacting Topshop to ask for clothes for Rihanna half a dozen times since the lawsuit was launched, the retailer’s lawyers said.

A barrister at London’s High Court claimed Rihanna’s representatives had asked Topshop for products for the singer on ’10 recent occasions’, and said her ‘shopping habits’ were testament to the retailer’s own considerable reputation.

Of those 10 occasions, six came after Rihanna launched proceedings against Topshop, said Geoffrey Hobbs QC.

The T-shirt in question is printed with a snap of the star wearing a bra top, which she says was ‘very similar’ to images used on one of her album covers.

She claimed sales of the shirt amounted to ‘passing off’ and may have led to her reputation being tarnished with her fans, had they bought the garment thinking it was ‘genuine’ endorsed merchandise with ‘an emotional connection to their heroine’.

Lawyers for Topshop maintained the retailer did nothing wrong, and accused the pop star of making an unjustifiable bid to establish a ‘free standing image right’ over use of her picture in the UK.

Mr Justice Birss, sitting at London’s High Court, heard that Topshop bought a license to use the image on the T-shirt from the photographer who took it, during the video shoot for Rihanna’s single We Found Love which was filmed in Belfast and Bangor, Northern Ireland, in November 2011.

However the 25-year-old singer protested that they had short changed her and her fans when the T-shirt went on sale.

Congratulations RihRih! Props on making “the man” pay for trying to use your image without your permission.


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