Entertainment News

  • 1 August 2013, 16:37

Rihanna Wins Topshop Image Rights Fight

Singer Rihanna has won her High Court battle with fashion chain Topshop over T-shirts bearing her image.

The Barbadian singer accused the fashion chain of passing off, or attempting to pass off, the garments as being approved by her.

Topshop disputed her claim.

Judge Mr Justice Birss ruled in favour of the Umbrella singer after a hearing in London.

He said Topshop's sale of a Rihanna T-shirt at the centre 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".

He said a "substantial number" of buyers were likely to have been deceived into buying the Rihanna T-shirt because of a "false belief" that it had been authorised by the singer.

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.

Bringing the action under her full name of Robyn Rihanna Fenty, the US-based celebrity alleged an unknown quantity of T-shirts was acquired by Topshop in 2011 and early 2012 and offered for sale under the name "Rihanna Tank".

Court documents claimed that, after being challenged by the singer's lawyers, Topshop dropped her name from the T-shirt and referred to it as "Headscarf Girl Tank", and then to "Icon Tank".

The image under attack was taken by a freelance photographer "without her permission" while the pop star was filming a video in Northern Ireland for one of her singles in 2011.

Rihanna had claimed that she was entitled to damages from Arcadia Group Brands, which operates Topshop, for the unauthorised use of her picture.

The judge did not make any assessment of damages in a written judgment.

Topshop, which is considering an appeal, said it was "disappointed" with the decision and said it believes its "reputation and popularity" has worked against it.

Rihanna was not in court for the proceedings.

The European leg of her Diamonds World Tour has just come to an end and she is understood to be taking a break before it continues in Macau, China, in September.