Rihanna still comes out on top in Court of Appeal decision

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court decision that Topshop infringed the rights of Rihanna through the sale of t-shirts bearing a photograph of her, without her consent. 

Kitchin LJ confirmed that use of a high-profile person's image will not automatically amount to passing off.  To rely on a claim for passing off, it will be necessary to provide evidence to show: 

  • Relevant goodwill.
  • Activities of the defendant amounting to a misrepresentation.
  • Harm to goodwill and business, or the likelihood of such harm. 

Whilst the decision confirms that it is possible for a celebrity to bring a passing off action to prevent unauthorised use of their image, the judges were clear that this certainly does not go as far as to introduce "image rights" in England and Wales.

To read the case in full click here 

For more information please contact Charlotte Bolton, Solicitor in the Commercial Disputes & Regulatory team on charlotte.bolton@michelmores.com or on 01392 687745.