Beyonce, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna and Jay Z (and their respective holding companies) are taking legal action against Paris-based brand, ElevenParis, for using their names and images on a variety of garments and accessories – such as cell phone covers and backpacks – without their permission. According to the musicians’ complaint, which was filed on Tuesday in the Southern District of New York court, they allege nearly SIXTY legal violations stemming from ElevenParis’s use of slogans, including “Kanye is my Homie” and “Pharrell is my Brotha” and trademarks, such as Jay Z’s “Hova” and Beyonce’s “Cayonce,” which are part of the brand’s “Family” capsule collection – all of which have disappeared from the ElevenParis website.
The group of music superstars has accused ElevenParis of “brazenly” infringing their trademark rights and copyrighted song lyrics, violating their publicity rights, engaging in unfair competition, and well, about 55 or so other violations (that’s a lot!!!). According to their complaint, “Even after receiving warning to cease selling the infringing goods, defendants continue to sell unauthorized products and to trade upon the goodwill associated with the plaintiffs, all for defendants’ profits.” As a result, they are asking the court to order ElevenParis to stop manufacturing, selling and marketing the goods at issue and to pay an unspecific damages amount, which includes profits made on the infringing goods and attorneys’ fees.
Interestingly, the musicians’ complaint sheds light on the fact that this isn’t ElevenParis’s first time infringing some members of the group of defendants. According to the complaint, “The sale of the merchandise is in direct contravention of both a written agreement with at least one Plaintiff, as well as ongoing settlement discussions in which Defendants have represented and warranted that they are not longer selling infrinfing merchanideise anywhere in the world.” This does not bode well for ElevenParis, which claims that its t-shirts “combine humour, pop culture, rock references and contemporary cool to symbolise the brand’s silhouette.”
Note the number of interestingly (read: ironic) twists in this case. First up, Kylie Jenner (sister in law of Kanye West) was recently featured on ElevenParis’s in its “Karl is my Father” t-shirt. Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister, fronted one of its recent ad campaigns. And finally, the final cause of action in the complaint is one for breach of contract on behalf of Beyonce, claiming that “the defendnats entered into an Agreement with Beyonce in January 2015” and subsequently breached it in connection with its sale of the infringing goods. Sounds like the two parties may have had a deal in the works.
Lastly, still up for sale on the brand’s site: a crackled gold sweater shirt which is a bit close to the one that Alexander Wang showed in his debut collection for Balenciaga and a bunch of other knockoffs. Also: shirts and backpacks bearing the slogan, “Karl is my Father,” a style of jeans entitled “Diddy,” and an array of Notorious BIG-covered garments. No word yet on whether Karl Lagereld, P Diddy or the estate of Notorious BIG will file suit. Stay tuned …