Harry Styles Files Lawsuit Over Counterfeit Merchandise Online
Former One Direction star Harry Styles is suing counterfeiters listing branded merchandise online without his approval.
According to Billboard, Styles filed a lawsuit earlier this week in Chicago federal court against online sellers violating his intellectual property rights.
The lawsuit alleges that the sellers make it "difficult for consumers to distinguish such stores from an authorized seller." Styles' legal team wants a judge to "issue a sweeping court order that would, among other things, force big web platforms like Amazon and Etsy (who are not named as defendants) to immediately shut down the listings," per Billboard.
Amazon has been facing legal action for years due to the abundance of counterfeit merchandise. In 2019, the American Apparel and Footwear Association recommended multiple Amazon sites be added to the U.S. government's annual Notorious Markets list.
The issue is that Amazon's platform allows for so many sellers to post their products, some can slip through the cracks, even if Amazon is ostensibly keeping a close eye.
"Anyone can become a seller with too much ease, and it is often misleading and difficult to interpret who the seller is," the AAFA's letter said in 2019. "Members emphasize that from a consumer standpoint, it is hard to decipher from whom the purchase is being made. Amazon needs to go further, by demonstrating the commitment to the resources and leadership necessary to make their brand protection programs scalable, transparent and, most importantly, effective."
Styles' lawsuit is similar to the AAFA action in that he is not suing actual people, he's suing a list of URLs. So if he wins, they are shut down, and hopefully new ones are nipped before they get going in earnest.
The lawsuit claims most of the counterfeiters are based in China or "other foreign jurisdictions with lax trademark enforcement system," and used tactics like multiple aliases to throw off enforcement, and meta tags to attract Harry Styles fans.