The Beatles File Multi-Million Lawsuit to Crack Down on Counterfeit Goods
The complaint names 48 different online sites selling unauthorized merchandise.
The Beatles' companies Apple Corps Ltd. and Subafilms Ltd. filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a list of 48 internet dealers and aliases for promoting, distributing and selling items that bear counterfeit logos or imitations of their respective trademarks. The defendants in the suit include shirtsforyou.net, B.F. Store, Good luck to you, GreenMango Store and HOOK ON YOU.
The lawsuit alleges trademark counterfeiting and infringement, “false designation of origins” to confuse potential buyers, common law unfair competition and common law trademark infringement. According to the lawsuit, the defendants are either located in or distribute their products from territories with lax trademark enforcement. Besides their own websites, the suit says the goods were also available from the sellers on commercial sites such as Amazon, eBay, Bonanza.com and Etsy.
According to the suit, the companies have sold items that include bed linens and pillowcases, apparel for men, women and toddlers, such as tank tops, T-shirts, jackets, hats, shoes, onesies, cases for mobile telephones, pendants, backpacks and doormats, and that the items are of “a quality substantially and materially different than that of Plaintiffs’ respective, genuine goods.”
The legal relief asked for includes injunctions to stop the manufacture, advertising, distribution and sale of the goods, a block on registration and use of the domain names involved in the offending websites, getting commercial sites (such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy) to remove any listings of their goods, along with monetary damages of $2 million for each counterfeit trademark used or product sold.
Apple Corps Ltd. -- owned by the two living Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the estates of the late John Lennon and George Harrison -- owns and controls the exclusive merchandising rights “and other intangible rights in the name of the Beatles,” according to the complaint. Subafilms Ltd. is an associated company also owned by the Beatles related to the merchandising rights from the Fab Four's 1967 animated movie Yellow Submarine.