The Beatles’ operating company Apple Corps has won a $77 million default judgment in a Florida court over the sale of fake merch.
The company, founded by The Beatles in 1968 to oversee the band’s creative and business interests, was awarded $1m for each of the 77 defendants accused of selling counterfeit Beatles-branded products online.
Not one of the defendants appeared in court, hence the default judgment.
The judgment comes two months after Apple Corps entered into a broad partnership with Sony Music’s The Thread Shop to develop new merchandise, licensing, retail and e-commerce opportunities for The Beatles in North America.
Filed in a Florida federal court in November last year, the lawsuit accused the defendants of profiting from fake goods featuring the phrases ‘The Beatles’ and ‘Beatles’ – both trademarked in 1993.
Also listed as a plaintiff is film production company Subafilms Ltd – ‘the owner of all rights in and to’ the trademark for the phrase ‘Yellow Subamarine’, which was also infringed by the defendants, according to the suit.
The list of items the three phrases are trademarked for range from sweaters to carpets, fridge magnets and watch straps, cellphone cases and bed linen.
“The award should be sufficient to deter Defendants and others from continuing to counterfeit or otherwise infringe Plaintiffs’ trademarks, compensate Plaintiffs, and punish Defendants.”
US District Judge Beth Bloom
According to the lawsuit, “upon information and belief, Defendants are promoting and advertising, distributing, selling, and/or offering for sale goods in interstate commerce bearing and/or using counterfeit and infringing trademarks that are exact copies of one or more of the BEATLES Marks and/or YELLOW SUBMARINE Mark (the “Counterfeit Goods”) through at least the commercial Internet websites or Internet based e-commerce stores operating under the Subject Domain Names and Seller IDs”.
It added: “Plaintiffs are suffering irreparable injury and have suffered substantial damages as a result of Defendants’ unauthorized and wrongful use of Plaintiffs Marks.
“If Defendants’ counterfeiting and infringing, and unfairly competitive activities are not preliminarily and permanently enjoined by this Court, Plaintiffs and the consuming public will continue to be harmed.”
US District Judge Beth Bloom, who presided over the case, said: “The award should be sufficient to deter Defendants and others from continuing to counterfeit or otherwise infringe Plaintiffs’ trademarks, compensate Plaintiffs, and punish Defendants”.Music Business Worldwide
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