Rihanna is launching a lawsuit against U.K. giant fashion chain Topshop. The Bajan songstress is seeking $5 million, claiming that the store used her image on a t-shirt without her consent. The photo in question was taken during a 2011 video shoot in Northern Ireland.
The singer believes that Topshot has misled her devotees into thinking that the tee was a "genuine" endorsed merchandise with "an emotional connection to their heroine." Her lawyer said, "The sales...gave rise to a likelihood of deception, damaging Rihanna's goodwill."
"Rihanna's case is not about stopping the sale of all images of her on T-shirts in the U.K., nor is it about trying to create a free standing so-called image right in the UK. Passing off is a question of fact in each case," the lawyer continued as quoted by BBC.
"Rihanna's case is that she has generated reputation and goodwill beyond that as a musical performing artist (which) extends into the fashion and clothing industries and has done so for years. She has collaborated in the design of clothes with a range of clothing designers at the high end of fashion, including Giorgio Armani and Gucci, and at established high street fashion stores, including River Island."
"These garments were not only endorsed by her but were sold and labelled under Rihanna's name and trademark. These ranges were highly acclaimed."
In her court documents, RiRi also claimed Topshop initially ordered to sell the t-shirt under the name Rihanna Tank. After being challenged by her team, the store dropped her name and changed it into Headscarf Girl Tank, and then Icon Tank.
In their defense, Topshop claimed they had bought a license to use the image from the photographer who took it during the "We Found Love" video filming. "Secondly there is no representation here, given that the garment is fashion wear and not promotional merchandise," they added.
Additionally, they claimed RiRi's camp continued asking for free clothes for her to wear despite the legal dispute. "It is not in dispute that Rihanna is a celebrity (but) the reputation of Topshop is also material to the allegation of misrepresentation," they said.
"Rihanna's own shopping habits provide compelling evidence of Topshop's reputation in fashion wear. (There are) 10 recent occasions on which her representatives have contacted Topshop asking for products for her to wear," they added. "We note that six of these requests post-date this dispute."