US Supreme Court upholds ruling in Marley case

November 06, 2015
Bob Marley

The United States Supreme Court has indicated to some of the country's biggest clothing companies that they do not have the right to use or sell shirts bearing the image of the late reggae icon, Bob Marley.

On Monday, America's highest court let stand a lower-court ruling that merchandisers had used Marley's likeness to sell clothing at Walmart, Target and other stores without permission.

According to various online sources, Marley's heirs control the rights to the musician's image through a company called Fifty-Six Hope Road Music. In 2008, the company sued rivals AVELA Inc. and others arguing that their sales of Marley merchandise violated federal trademark law. The Marley estate won the case and was awarded more than $1 million in profits and damages by a federal court in Nevada, USA, in 2011.

This is the second appeal to be turned down by the US courts after an appeal was dismissed earlier this year. After the ruling was handed down in 2011, the defendants decided to pursue the case in an effort to get the decision overturned.

Reports also state that the Marley estate is worth an estimated US$130M. The singer died of cancer in 1981.

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