Rihanna won her court case against the major British retail store Topshop, which had used her image on T-shirts called “Rihanna Tanks,” without her permission.
Despite all her rude girl antics, it seems like RiRi keeps coming out on top. Shortly after making the list as one of the highest-paid young celebrities, she has put an end to Topshop’s use of her image on their tank tops.
On Wednesday High Court Justice Colin Birss ruled in favor of the Bajan beauty, which wasn’t exactly the outcome most legal experts were expecting.
It is extremely difficult for most celebrities to protect their images from being used by big businesses, but in this case the judge felt Rihanna’s image on the T-shirts may have mislead some shoppers into believing she had endorsed them.
“I am quite satisfied that many fans of Rihanna regard her endorsement as important,” the judge explained. “She is their style icon. Many will buy a product because they think she has approved of it. Others will wish to buy it because of the value of the perceived authorization itself. In both cases they will have been deceived.”
Rihanna also has a fashion deal with River Island which is a direct competitor with Topshop, and that meant that the T-shirts could have had a negative impact on her fashion brand.
The judge did take the time to explain, however, that Rihanna’s privacy was never violated.
“[There is] no such thing as a general right by a famous person to control the reproduction of their image,” Justice Birss said. “The taking of the photograph is not suggested to have breached Rihanna’s privacy. The mere sale by a trader of a T-shirt bearing an image of a famous person is not an act of passing off.”
He said that the problem with the image on the shirts was that it was the same image that was used in Rihanna’s album sleeve and a direct screenshot from one of her music videos, all of which was enough to mislead consumers into believing she was directly supporting the garment.
A ruling on damages has not been made, so it isn’t clear how much money Topshop will have to pay RiRi. But the retailer had already pulled in over $5 million in sales from the “Rihanna Tank.”
As far as Topshop is concerned, it appears they are trying to make sure that they don’t make Rihanna’s navy too angry. They insist that they had no intention of tricking anyone into thinking Rihanna was endorsing the shirt.
“There was no intention by Topshop to create the appearance of an endorsement or promotion,” said the retailer in a statement released shortly after the ruling. “We do not believe it conveyed any false message to our customers.”
The statement also indicated that the retailer’s legal team was disappointed by the outcome of the case and they may be pushing for an appeal.
Rihanna isn’t out of the legal hot waters yet, however. The lawsuit with Topshop was probably the least of her courtroom concerns.
Chris Brown’s ex still hasn’t settled the lawsuit with her former accountants from Berdon LLP because she’s been blowing them off even though she initiated the suit.
Berdon LLP has made several attempts to meet with the R&B starlet, but the “Stay” songstress has failed to show up to any of the depositions.
She was recently slapped with a $47,050 fine for skipping out on the court dates as a judge rescheduled the deposition for Aug. 28.
If the bad gal decides not to show up this time, the judge is considering dismissing her case entirely.