By: LaCole Spraggins
Marilyn Monroe, the most famous vixen of all time, is the topic of a trademark infringement dispute. The icon’s estate is suing Fashion Central for allegedly using Marilyn Monroe’s likeness on various items including undergarment packaging and tags.
The plaintiff alleges that Fashion Central is infringing upon its trademark, diluting the icon’s famous image, and unjustly enriching with every unauthorized sale of good displaying Marilyn Monroe’s likeness.
The plaintiff, Marilyn Monroe’s estate, owns exclusive rights to Marilyn Monroe's name, image, and likeness. The defendant, Fashion Central does not have a license to use Marilyn Monroe’s likeness. Yet, Fashion Central continues to use a picture depicting the likeness of Marilyn Monroe and some of her most famous quotes on its clothing and packaging.
Although Marilyn Monroe’s name does not appear on Fashion Central garments, does not mean that Fashion Central is off the hook for trademark infringement. Section 1125(a) of Title 15 of the Lanham Act, can be used to support the estate of Marilyn Monroe’s claim. Thus, Marilyn Monroe’s estate may prevail if it proves that there is a likelihood of confusion.
Likeness is important because everyone wants their image and the image of their loved ones to be protected. Although celebrities are icons, the integrity of there images is important to them and their families. So it is best to air on the side of caution before using celebrity images for financial gain.