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Celebrities v. Licensees in Court

Celebrity licensing deals are like marriages: Some succeed but many end in divorce, recrimination and litigation. Here’s a Scorecard summarizing some high profile cases from recent years.


Selena Gomez v. Adrenalina (2011-2013)

  • Situation: Adrenalina sues Gomez for allegedly not supporting a personally-branded perfume line it spent $2 million to develop.
  • Outcome: Gomez countersues for $5 million but quietly pays undisclosed amount to settle.

Gate Five, LLC v. Beyoncé (2010-2013)

  • Situation: After Gate Five spends $6.7 million to develop “Superstar Beyoncé” video game, Beyoncé pulls out of licensing deal. Gate Five sues for $100 million saying Beyoncé tried to destroy its business “on a whim.”
  • Outcome: Beyoncé settles after judge refuses to dismiss case.

Hanesbrands v. Rashard Mendenhall (2011-2013)

  • Situation: NFL player sues Hanes for ending endorsement deal for controversial 9/11 tweets.
  • Outcome: Mendenhall sues but drops case after court rules he violated morals clause of his contract.

Raymond Weil SA v. Charlize Theron (2006-2008)

  • Situation: After being named Weil’s “international ambassador,” Theron is photographed with Christian Dior watch and displayed on billboard with Mont Blanc. Weil sues for $20 million;
  • Outcome: Weil wins and Theron settles before damages set.

Octavia Spencer v. Sensa Products (2013-2014)

  • Situation: Sensa claims Spencer breached diet product endorsement deal by adding “#Spon”—sponsored—at end of her tweets. Spencer claims “#Spon” suffix is required by FTC.
  • Outcome: Spencer loses her fraud claim but wins on breach of contract.

No Doubt v. Activision (2011)

  • Situation: No Doubt sues, claiming use of band member images in video game for unflattering actions goes beyond scope of license contract.
  • Outcome: Activision settles after judge refuses to dismiss case.

Teri Hatcher v. Hydroderm (2007-2008)

  • Situation: Hydroderm accuses actress of using competitive lip gloss in violation of endorsement deal.
  • Outcome: Hydroderm loses and has to issue public apology.

Paris Hilton v. Antebi Footwear (2014)

  • Situation: Antebi accuses Hilton of licensing competitive brand; Hilton denies and sues for royalties.
  • Outcome: Case settled without trial.

Moodform Mission v. Naomi Campbell (2011-2012)

  • Situation: Moodform sues for 25% royalties allegedly due on sales of Campbell-branded perfumes; Campbell countersues.
  • Outcome: Case settled after Moodform wins round 1 in court.

Revenue Resources Group, LLC v. Kardashians (2011)

  • Situation: Kardashians pull out of branded debit card deal after Connecticut attorney general raises legal questions about “Kard’s” legality.
  • Outcome: RRG sues sisters and mom for $75 million but drop the suit 6 months later.

Katy Perry v. Jemella Group Ltd. (2011)

  • Situation: Jemella doesn’t renew Perry’s hair products deal, citing singer’s declining popularity in Europe.
  • Outcome: Perry sues for $2 million for breach of alleged oral agreement but case settles.

Hairtech International, Inc. v. Paris Hilton (2010-2011)

  • Situation: Hairtech sues Hilton for $35 million for wearing a competitor’s hair extension products in violation of exclusive endorsement, citing damage to its brand.
  • Outcome: Case settles for undisclosed amount.

Tarrant Apparel Group v. Jessica Simpson (2007)

  • Situation: Tarrant gets license to develop low-priced JSPrincy jeans and sues Simpson for not supporting brand, refusing to wear JS jeans in public and citing a competitive brand as her favorite jeans.
  • Outcome: Case settles for undisclosed amount with Tarrant agreeing to give up license.

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