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Rihanna wins lawsuit against Topshop


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Rihanna has won her High Court battle against Topshop, ensuring a permanent injunction against the shop preventing it from selling t-shirts featuring a photograph of her, following her earlier win against the brand in July.

The singer sued Topshop in May for selling t-shirts bearing an image of her, taken on the set of her We Found Love music video in 2011. Topshop did not have her consent to use the photograph, and it was ruled in July that fans may have been misled into believing this was a genuinely endorsed product, particularly as Rihanna had a current contract with rival high-street brand River Island.  However, Topshop insisted that it bought the license to use the image from the freelance photographer that took it, therefore entitling them to use the image on its clothing.

This latest development means that, as well as being forbidden to sell the aforementioned t-shirt, Topshop is banned from using any images of the singer on any items in future, as the shop had apparently failed to promise to do so of its own accord. 

Rihanna had asked that any unsold t-shirts be given to her so as to prevent any further sales, but the court was told that all but five of the 12,000 items had already been sold, the remaining five having been kept aside for the legal proceedings.

In addition to the permanent ban, Rihanna is also believed to be seeking an estimated £919,000 in legal fees, to be paid for by Topshop. The judge admitted that he found the fees ‘startling’ and ‘somewhat surprising’ and, while the brand has been granted permission to appeal, it has been ordered to make an interim payment of £200,000 in the meantime.

What is even more surprising about the lawsuit is that, not too long ago, Rihanna had seemed to have a good friendship with Topshop boss Philip Green and his daughter Chloe. In 2012, Chloe was spotted at Rihanna’s birthday meal at London’s Naomi restaurant, and again at the singer’s November gig at the HMV Forum in Kentish Town.

Furthermore, Philip Green apparently included Rihanna in a group of 100 A-list friends and their families whom he flew out to the Maldives to celebrate his 60th birthday with him, and to provide the entertainment for the party alongside Stevie Wonder and Bruno Mars, at a cost of around £3 million for Philip.

A Topshop representative stated the company’s disappointment at the decision to award Rihanna the requested permanent ban against the store:

"We feel that the fact that Rihanna has shopped, worn and had a relationship with Topshop for several years appears to have been detrimental to our case.

"We robustly dispute the Judge's conclusion. We believe that our customers clearly understand when we are undertaking a collaboration such as the one we created with Kate Moss over several seasons.

"Topshop are therefore perplexed by the judge's decision and are considering all options available to us including seeking to appeal."

It’s looking unlikely that Rihanna will be invited to Sir Philip’s next birthday party so, what do you say, Phil? Can we come along instead?

Photo credit: / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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