Unauthorized 'Hamilton' Merchandise Sparks Lawsuit

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
The cast of Hamilton at the Tony Awards on June 12, 2016.

Unauthorized gear from the Broadway hit is diverting profits away from the company licensed to sell merchandise, according to the suit.

As Hamilton continues to sell out shows, the award-winning play is now fighting an unfortunate side effect of its popularity: knock-off merchandise, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in New York federal court. 

HamiltonCo, the production entity for Hamilton, is suing SunFrog and GearLaunch for copyright and trademark infringement and dilution, claiming the companies are selling unauthorized merchandise bearing the production's iconic logo. 

GearLaunch licenses software and manages online stores for its clients and SunFrog manufactures customized clothing, according to the complaint. The lawsuit claims the companies are exploiting the production's popularity and goodwill to cash in on unauthorized clothing. The only legitimate goods are made by Creative Goods Merchandise, which has an exclusive sub-license to incorporate the Hamilton logo and trademark.

"GearLaunch does not require its collaborators to provide confirming information that a given design, such as those incorporating famous copyrights and trademarks as the Hamilton logo, is being used with the permission of the proprietors of the relevant copyright and/or trademark," writes attorney Mark Lawless in the complaint. "Instead, GearLaunch purports to rely simply upon a warranty by the designers that the designs are not infringing, and GearLaunch purports to have no involvement in the design selection process."

HamiltonCo is seeking disgorgement of defendants' profits or statutory damages and an injunction to keep GearLaunch and SunFrog from making, marketing or selling any merchandise bearing the Hamilton logo.

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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