Beyonce, Rihanna, others sue Paris firm over clothing knockoffs

Wed Oct 7, 2015 11:05am EDT
 
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By Jonathan Stempel and Andrew Chung

NEW YORK/PARIS (Reuters) - Beyonce, Jay Z, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Rihanna have jointly sued a Paris clothing retailer they say has been "brazenly" selling shirts, hats, backpacks, mobile phone cases and other items featuring their likenesses without permission.

The complaint filed on Tuesday in federal court in New York said ElevenParis has ignored the singers' warnings to stop the sales, including in a store in Manhattan's SoHo district, and on its website.

ElevenParis said in a statement on Wednesday that negotiations had been under way with these celebrities for nearly a year and were continuing. "ElevenParis is determined to find a fair and balanced agreement with them and their advisers," the statement said.

The artists accused ElevenParis and its affiliates of being "habitual, willful intellectual property infringers that, without authorization, usurp the trademarks, copyrights and other rights of A-list celebrities."

The challenged products include clothing bearing the singers' faces, phrases such as "Kanye is my Homie" and "Pharrell is my Brotha," and Beyonce and Rihanna song lyrics.

According to the complaint, ElevenParis' actions "have caused and are causing immediate irreparable harm" to the plaintiffs, who seek to recoup profits and triple damages over the allegations of trademark infringement and violations of their rights of publicity.

Each of the artists also has their own clothing lines or collaborations with apparel manufacturers, the complaint said, generating "hundreds of millions of dollars" in sales.

(Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
Beyonce poses backstage with three of her four awards during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in Inglewood, California August 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian