Rihanna wins injunction against TopShop T-shirt

October 2013



Rihanna has won a permanent ban against Topshop to prevent the retail chain selling T-shirts using an image taken at an official video shoot for We Found Love in 2011 by a freelance photographer. In an earlier hearing Mr Justice Birss had allowed a claim in passing off that because the photo used was very similar to imagery on her album ‘Talk That Talk‘, consumers would likely think it was an officially endorsed product, which it was not.

Now the singer has secured an injunction stopping Topshop from selling clothing that uses her image. The singer also asked for the return of all unsold product bit was told the retailer had sold all but 5 of the 12,000 T-shirts produced – and thise were saved for the court case.

Mr Justice Birss had stressed  that no “freestanding general right” for celebrities to control the use of their image existed in English law, but did grant Topshop permission to appeal the ruling to the Court Of Appeal: the singer’s damages will not be decided until after that hearing. Legal costs were submitted, with Rihanna’s team putting in a “rather optimistic” bill of £919,000, a figure Birrs said he found “startling” and he awarded  £200,000 as an interim payment to cover costs, pending further discussion. Top Shop’s own costs were £300,000.



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