Rihanna has won the court battle with Topshop over selling t-shirts with her picture on them.
Rihanna sued The Arcadia Group, parent company of the high street store, for £3.3 million over Topshop’s production and sale of a t-shirt with her photograph taken from the filming of the music video, We Found Love, in Northern Ireland in 2011.
Her lawyers claimed that RiRi fans may be confused into thinking that it was “genuine” endorsed merchandise with “an emotional connection to their heroine.”
Although Rihanna claimed that Topshop has negatively influenced her image, the Topshop lawyers flashed their claws and pointed out that it has not stopped the RiRi entourage “asking for products for her to wear” numerous times after Rihanna launched the lawsuit.
Topshop lawyers also argued that the singer was making an unjustifiable claim to establish a “free standing image right” over use of her picture in the UK, especially since Topshop bought the licence from the photographer who took it.
In a quick judgement, Mr. Justice Birss, the case judge, says “The mere sale by a trader of a t-shirt bearing an image of a famous person is not, without more, an act of passing off.” He also state that, “However the sale of this image of this person on this garment by this shop in these circumstances is a different matter. I find that Topshop’s sale of this Rihanna T-shirt without her approval was an act of passing off.”
There goes any hopes for a Rihanna + Topshop collaboration in the future. Damn.