Fake or counterfeit merchandise is nothing new in the music industry; after all, not everyone can afford the overpriced shirts on the artist’s website, but that doesn’t mean it should be tolerated.
Harry Styles is standing up to the fake merchandise being sold online by suing them for infringing on his intellectual property rights.
According to Billboard, the “Watermelon Sugar” singer is pursuing unauthorized sellers who are duping his fans into purchasing counterfeit merchandise. On January 10, the case was filed in federal court in Chicago.
A statement issued by Styles’ legal team read:
“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.”
Aside from counterfeit merchandise being sold on unauthorized websites, Rolling Stones reported that dupes of the singer’s merchandise are also being sold on legitimate websites such as Amazon and Etsy.
As a result, “consumers find it difficult to distinguish such stores from an authorized retailer.”
That is also why Styles’ team is pursuing a comprehensive takedown of the counterfeit items being sold online, though this may prove difficult given that some of the merchandise being sold originates in China and “other foreign jurisdictions with lax trademark enforcement systems.”
The “As It Was” singer’s camp identified this stumbling block, noting:
“Tactics used by defendants to conceal their identities and the full scope of their operation make it virtually impossible for plaintiff to learn defendants’ true identities and the exact interworking of their counterfeit network.”
Styles is not the first artist or brand to go after unauthorized sellers and counterfeit merchandise, according to reports.
In fact, other brands and artists, including Nirvana, XXXTentacion, Ray-Ban, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nike, have used this legal maneuver to remove counterfeit merchandise from online spaces in the past.
Styles’ action against counterfeit merchandise comes as part of his ongoing “Love on Tour” in support of his albums “Fine Line” and “Harry’s House.”
It’s no surprise that Styles wants to protect his brand’s and merchandise’s intellectual property rights, especially while on tour.
“Treat People with Kindness,” or “TPWK,” is one of the singer’s most well-known merchandise taglines. This slogan has appeared in a number of his shows and merchandise.