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Beatles file $100 million lawsuit against unofficial merch sellers

By | Published on Monday 5 February 2018

The Beatles

The Beatles company Apple Corps last week filed a $100 million lawsuit in Florida against nearly 50 online operations over allegations of trademark infringement.

The defendants are accused of selling all sorts of products containing variations of the Fab Four’s ‘Beatles’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ marks without permission, either via their own websites, or marketplaces operated by the likes of Amazon and eBay.

And, of course, all the unofficial Beatles-related tat is definitely inferior to any products officially endorsed by the band. That’s the main reason for going legal I’m sure, just think of all the poor Beatles fans buying inferior Yellow Submarine pillow cases.

Adds the lawsuit, according to the New York Post: “The natural and intended by-product of defendants’ actions is the erosion and destruction of the goodwill associated with plaintiffs’ respective famous names and trademarks and the destruction of the legitimate market sector in which they operate”.

One IP expert who spoke to the Post, lawyer Scott Slavick, said that the lawsuit was a pretty standard trademark action, adding that it’s not uncommon to go after multiple infringers through one lawsuit in cases of this kind. Though he did reckon that the damages sought – which work out at about $2 million per allegedly infringing seller – were “aggressively high”.

The lawsuit itself concedes that many of the accused sellers are based out of countries where trademark enforcement is generally pretty slack, so it remains to be seen how many seek to defend themselves in the American lawsuit.