Rihanna
Topshop has lost its appeal at the High Court against RihannaReuters

Rihanna has won a High Court battle against Topshop over a t-shirt the high street store was selling with the pop star's face on it.

The Court of Appeal upheld a ban on the shop selling the Rihanna top without the 26-year-old Grammy Award winner's permission.

Topshop, which is owned by Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, argued judge Mr Justice Birss had misunderstood the law when he prohibited the shirt's sale.

But three judges today unanimously dismissed the Topshop appeal, in a ruling that could have implications for celebrity image rights.

The legal wrangle started in 2012 when Topshop began to sell the garment in its stores, and through its website. The t-shirt displayed a "clearly recognisable" image of Rihanna, taken on a video shoot in Northern Ireland in 2011.

The popstar, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, launched her legal action alleging the image had not been licensed for the t-shirt and that its use would give fans the impression she had endorsed it.

Rejecting the Topshop appeal, Lord Justice Kitchin said: "Rihanna has always accepted that she has no right in English law to prevent any use of her image.

"Further and specifically, she acknowledges that the sale of garments bearing recognisable images of her does not, in and of itself, amount to passing off."

During her career Rihanna has already built a formidable stable of sponsorships that has included deals with Nike, Gillette, Clinique and LG Mobile. She also has a deal with Topshop's high street rival River Island.

What is passing off?

Passing off is usually found within the world of business and relates specifically to a misrepresentation made by one party which damages the goodwill of another party. In most cases this will be achieved by one party passing off the other party's goods or services as their own.

In most cases businesses will have rights under the law of passing off in relation to slogans, names, packaging and other advertising elements where the company will have accrued some form of goodwill.

Source: http://www.inbrief.co.uk/