International singing star Rihanna (Robyn Rihanna Fenty to the court) won a lawsuit in July in England against the Top Shop stores over the manufacture and sale of an unauthorized T-Shirt bearing her image. Merchandise (such as T-shirts, jackets, buttons) is a very big business; so the respective rights of celebrities and merchants are important. I frequently work on licenses and litigation in this area and know firsthand how valuable these rights are – and how seriously infringements are taken.
In the United States, celebrities routinely win such cases because the US recognizes a celebrity’s “right of publicity” — that’s the right to control most commercial exploitations of a celebrity’s name, likeness, and biographical details.
Continue reading “The T- Shirt Found No Love – Rihanna Wins in Court”
If anyone can accurately be called ubiquitous, it’s musician, producer, and fashionista Pharrell Williams. Whether it’s cavorting with Robin Thicke and dancers in “Blurred Lines” or on Daft Punk’s song of the summer of 2013, “Get Lucky,” the man is everywhere. Now he’s in federal court, too. He’s adverse to will.i.am, who also isn’t unskilled in the art of ubiquity in the worlds of music, fashion, and technology — both on his own and as a member of The Black Eyed Peas.
Pharrell Williams has been using the phrase “I AM OTHER” on a video-driven website established by Williams at www.iamother.com. His company is seeking to register that phrase as a trademark at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Will.i.am and his attorneys protested.
Continue reading “I Know I Am, But What Am I? Two Music Stars in a Trademark Dispute”