Rihanna wins Topshop T-shirt legal case

Rihanna wins Topshop T-shirt legal case

Rihanna won a legal case against s British fashion chain for using her image without her approval. Photo: Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Barbadian singer Rihanna on Wednesday won a legal case against British fashion chain Topshop over the use of her image on a T-shirt it sold without her approval.

High Court Judge Birss ruled in Rihanna’s favor following a four-day hearing earlier this month.

In March last year Topshop, which is owned by billionaire Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, started selling a T-shirt with an image of Rihanna on it.

The image was a photograph taken by a freelance photographer in Northern Ireland while Rihanna was filming a music video. Topshop had a license from the photographer but no license from Rihanna.

Rihanna, who has a direct endorsement relationship with fashion chain River Island, took the case against Topshop under her full name of Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

In his judgment Birss said “a substantial number” of shoppers were likely to be deceived into buying the T-shirt because of a false belief that it had been authorized by Rihanna.

“I find that Topshop’s sale of this Rihanna T-shirt without her approval was an act of passing off. I find for the claimants,” he said.

Damages were not determined.

Topshop said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the judgment and would seek permission to appeal.

“We robustly dispute the Judge’s conclusion,” it said, adding: “There was no evidence of consumer confusion to support the Judge’s conclusion.”

Lawyers said the ruling may have set a significant precedent.

“The Judge was at pains to make it clear that not every T-shirt with a famous face on it will fall foul of the law, but when an artist has a lot to lose, they have every incentive to sue,” said Sarah Byrt, intellectual property partner at law firm Mayer Brown.

Recent Headlines

in National

Trump drops 12 points in poll: Reuters/Ipsos


Donald Trump's support among Republicans has dropped 12 points in less than a week according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

in National

Police name suspect in Colorado Springs shooting


Police on Saturday identified the suspect in a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

in Black Friday, Lifestyle, National

Black Friday crowds thin in subdued start to holiday shopping


America's annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza was short on fireworks this year.

in National

Making headlines this week

Santa Claus participates in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

A look at some of this week's biggest newsmakers and the headlines you may have missed.

in National

Smartphones may have role in rise of U.S. traffic deaths


The number of deaths from traffic accidents jumped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, suggesting smartphones and other driving distractions could be making America's roadways more dangerous.