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Topshop ordered to pay Rihanna’s legal bill

By | Published on Thursday 5 February 2015


Topshop has been ordered to pay legal costs racked up by Rihanna in her previously reported court battle with the retailer, after it failed to overturn a ruling that said its use of her image on a t-shirt constituted ‘passing off’.

As previously reported, the retail firm had properly licensed the photo used on its t-shirt from its copyright owner – which wasn’t Rihanna or her business partners – so there wasn’t a case for copyright infringement. But the singer’s lawyers argued, successfully, that the similarity between the picture on the garment and promo shots for her ‘Talk That Talk’ album implied an endorsement, hence the claim for the so called tort of passing off.

Topshop lost an appeal over the 2013 decision last month and yesterday, in a separate appeal hearing, the retail firm failed to convince appeal judges to reject a claim against it from Rihanna’s team for over £1 million to cover legal costs. According to the BBC, appeal judges said the claim for costs was reasonable, despite the judge in the original case saying that the size of the legal bill was “startling”.

A separate hearing is still to take place to confirm what damages Topshop must pay Rihanna, though the singer originally sued for £3.3 million.