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Harry Styles goes legal over unofficial merch sellers

By | Published on Wednesday 11 January 2023

Harry Styles

Harry Styles has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit with the US courts seeking to stop the sale of unofficial merchandise by various online operators. Among other things he wants the court to order the likes of Amazon and eBay to stop allowing such operators to sell their counterfeit goods via their respective platforms.

“This action”, the lawsuit begins, “has been filed by plaintiff to combat e-commerce store operators who trade upon plaintiff’s reputation and goodwill by offering for sale and/or selling unauthorised and unlicensed products, including apparel and other merchandise, using infringing and counterfeit versions of plaintiff’s federally registered trademarks”.

“Defendants create e-commerce stores operating under one or more seller aliases that are advertising, offering for sale, and selling counterfeit products to unknowing consumers”, the legal filing adds.

It’s likely that each counterfeit seller is operating under multiple aliases, though it’s hard to work out who the actual sellers are because, the lawsuit notes, “defendants attempt to avoid and mitigate liability by operating under one or more seller aliases to conceal both their identities and the full scope and interworking of their counterfeiting operation”.

Team Styles reckons that the counterfeit sellers are likely operating out of China or other countries where it is hard to enforce trademark rights, or – at least – that’s where they are sourcing their counterfeit goods from.

Obviously that possibly makes securing effective legal remedies through the American courts tricky, even though – Team Styles says – many of the sellers are specifically targeting US-based consumers. That said, if they could get a court order forcing the removal of those goods from key online marketplaces, that would be a good start.

Among other things the lawsuits requests an injunction ordering that “online marketplace platforms such as eBay, AliExpress, Alibaba, Amazon, Wish, Walmart, Etsy, and DHgate shall disable and cease displaying any advertisements used by or associated with defendants in connection with the sale of counterfeit and infringing goods using the Harry Styles trademarks”.

The lawsuit concludes: “Plaintiff is forced to file this action to combat defendants’ counterfeiting of its registered trademarks, as well as to protect unknowing consumers from purchasing counterfeit products over the internet. Plaintiff has been and continues to be irreparably damaged through consumer confusion, dilution, and tarnishment of its valuable trademarks as a result of defendants’ actions and seeks injunctive and monetary relief”.

And, in the meantime, Styles would prefer fans to only buy goods containing his name or image from officially endorsed sellers such as his own e-commerce set up.