Rihanna is making trade mark news again. In 2015 she took Topshop to Court over the use of her image on a T-shirt. Topshop owned the image they had used but their marketing campaign suggested a commercial tie and endorsement which did not exist.
Rihanna’s claim was that TopShop were unfairly exploiting her image, so causing her damage. Rihanna was successful and TopShop were ordered to stop selling the T-shirt and pay Rihanna damages and costs.
This time Rihanna’s case is in the US where she owns a large number of trade marks for Fenty and Fenty by Rihanna covering luxury and beauty. Her opponent is not a retail store but her father Ronald. Ronald and Rihanna share the Fenty surname and Ronald’s company Fenty Entertainments is accused of using the Rihanna’s Fenty brand to suggest falsely there is a connection between Rihanna and Ronald’s business. In fact its claimed that he has taken millions of dollars of unsuspecting third parties against the promise that Rihanna will perform at various locations.
Ronald and his daughter are apparently not on the best of terms even before this dispute so Ronald received a formal cease and desist letter. That failed to elicit the correct or any response and so a claim has been issued.
From the side lines it looks like Rihanna has good prospects of success. Even without a Fenty mark covering entertainment it seems clear that Ronald is using Rihanna’s name to advance his business. But what about all the people who have handed over cash to Fenty Entertainment? They are not part of the claim filed for Rihanna. Time for the fraud squad to get involved??
This story shows the importance of taking action to prevent use of your rights when they are abused. It will not however fix all the wrongs that have taken place but will at least stop further people handing over cash for a service that is not going to be delivered.
Written by Margaret Briffa