On January 15, 2019, pop star Rihanna, real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty, filed a lawsuit in a California federal court demanding her father, Ronald Fenty, cease exploiting her name and brand, “Fenty,” for commercial benefit through his company Fenty Entertainment LLC. To add “insult to injury,” Rihanna has recently opened up on ABC's “Good Morning America” about her disgruntled relationship with her father claiming that she witnessed her father abuse her mother physically.
In addition to Ronald Fenty unlawfully using “Fenty, ” Rihanna alleges that Ronald Fenty and his business partner, Moses Perkins (“Perkins”), have also promised multiple performances by the pop star to various venues around the world without her consent. The complaint states, “Mr. Fenty, Mr. Perkins and the company's fraudulent conduct is particularly egregious because they repeatedly have been told to stop making these misrepresentations, and to cease and desist all activity and efforts to exploit Rihanna's name and the goodwill associated with the Fenty brand.”
Rihanna uses the mark “Fenty” for a number of her own businesses. The mark has become “inextricably intertwined with Rihanna,” including her reputation and business ventures. According to the complaint, a third-party entertainment company offered Fenty Entertainment LLC an “exclusive deal” for Rihanna to perform 15 shows in Latin America for $15 million and two 15-minute sets at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena for $400,000. All of these shows were accepted by Fenty Entertainment LLC without Rihanna's knowledge.
The complaint also states that in March 2018, Rihanna's manager attempted to stop Ronald Fenty from using the singer's name, but in August of 2018, Perkins and Ronald Fenty tried to file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the “Fenty” trademark in connection with resort boutique hotels.
Then in December of 2018, Rihanna's attorneys again sent Ronald Fenty and Perkins a letter demanding they stop their unauthorized use of the Fenty mark, their claims of affiliation with Rihanna, and the false advertisements to the public and to stop saying Fenty Entertainment is affiliated with Rihanna or that she has sponsored the company.
Rihanna's attorneys of Reed Smith LLP pleaded that “Judicial intervention is necessary because defendants have made clear that they have no intention of ceasing their fraudulent and infringing conduct…In the face of clear warnings, defendants continue to unabashedly perpetuate this fraud in an attempt to profit at the expense of Rihanna's rights.”
The suit includes claims of false designation of origin, false advertising, violations of California's right of publicity statute and invasion of privacy and seeks remedies of treble damages in an amount to be proven, all lost profits and costs for corrective advertising and attorneys' fees, among other damages claims.
Rihanna is represented by Carla M. Wirtschafter and Jordan W. Siev of Reed Smith LLP.
Counsel and contact information for the defendants is not yet available.
The case is Robyn Rihanna Fenty et al. v. Fenty Entertainment LLC et al., case number 2:19-cv-00307, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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