Pop star Rihanna has won a law suit against Topshop over the sale of T-shirts bearing her image.
The Arcadia-owned business was accused by the singer’s lawyers of damaging her reputation through the sale of T-shirts using a picture of her taken during a 2011 video shoot.
Topshop’s lawyers had claimed the 25-year-old was making an unjustifiable bid to establish a “free standing image right” over use of her picture in the UK.
Judge Mr Justice Birss ruled that while celebrities could not “control the reproduction of their image”, in this instance a “substantial number” of consumers would have bought the T-shirt under the “false belief” she had endorsed it.
As such it was damaging to her “goodwill” and represented a loss of control over her reputation in the “fashion sphere”.
She has also been associated with brands such as Boy London and Armani.
Her lawyers were seeking $5m (3.3m), but the judge did not make an assessment of any liable damages in his ruling.
A statement issued by Topshop said it was “surprised and disappointed by the judgment handed down today”, noting that the reasons for finding in Rihanna’s favour were “narrow”.
It said it was considering “all options” including a possible appeal, noting it was “perplexed by the judge’s decision”.
The retailer added: “There was no intention by Topshop to create the appearance of an endorsement or promotion; indeed this tank was one piece of jersey in a heavily stocked and wide-ranging t-shirt department, and we do not believe it conveyed any false message to our customers.”
The statement highlighted the judge’s comments that there had been “no express assertion that the garment is authorised by the artist”. Topshop also noted that there were T-shirts with Rihanna’s image “on sale on every UK high street”.
The statement added: “We pride ourselves on the fact that many celebrities choose to visit and buy from us. We respect their boundaries and their privacy, as we do with that of all of our customers.”