Beyonce, Pharrell, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Kanye West Sue Over Use of their Images and Names on Merchandise

By Jennifer E. Rothman
October 20, 2015

These megastars sued Eleven LLC for using their names and images in a variety of merchandise, including t-shirts, hats, and cell phone covers. Some of the images evoked Hitler and some of the items used lyrics from the artists’ songs. The plaintiffs’ complaint includes claims for violations of New York’s Civil Rights Laws § 50 & 51 (that state’s right of publicity law), and claims under the Lanham Act for trademark infringement (of registered and unregistered marks), false sponsorship/endorsement, and for dilution. The plaintiffs make similar claims under New York’s General Business Laws. The case falls into the disfavored category of merchandise and the defendants are not likely to be viewed sympathetically. Look for a settlement in this one.

Filed Complaint in Knowles-Carter v. Eleven, LLC (S.D.N.Y. , filed Oct. 2015)