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Rihanna in IP Tangle with Arcadia Group

Rihanna, along with two associate Los Angeles-based companies have been at the High Court in London over a dispute with Arcadia for providing Topshop t-shirts to sell that bear her image.

Topshop had offered the t-shirts for sale in 2011 until early 2012. The t-shirts were originally called the ‘Rihanna Tank’ and later renamed (following a challenge by Rihanna) to ‘Headscarf Girl Tank’ followed by ‘Icon Tank’. Rihanna had initially brought both a trade mark infringement and passing off claim, however Mr Justice Birss is only hearing arguments on the passing off claim. It is understood that the trademark infringement claim has already been settled between the two parties.

Rihanna is requesting from Mr Justice Birss an injunction to prevent Arcadia from continuing to sell clothes that use the Rihanna mark or “confusingly similar name”, as a part of the injunction they are requesting that all remaining unsold stock be delivered up. In addition she is asking for damages, allegedly of up to £3.5 million, for the unauthorised use of her image.

Unlike some US states, UK law does not currently provide for publicity or personality rights specifically. Publicity rights enable an individual to protect their image from being commercially exploited without their permission. So far UK courts have ruled that a passing off claim should sufficiently protect a claimant.


See our case report here.

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