The popular fashion brand, H&M, has been slapped with a lawsuit this summer over some garments sold in relation to Justin Bieber’s tour named “Purpose of the Stadium Tour”. H&M entered into a contract in the fall with Justin Bieber, to make some garments for his tour, which included a handful of hoodies, t-shirts and sweatpants.

Justin Bieber later announced he wouldn’t be able to go on tour, but H&M still continued the sale of these garments. Meanwhile the collection had been widely purchased by Justin Bieber’s fans. However, the design on the garments, which bear a striking resemblance to, that of a Swedish sport wear retail store called “Stadium” has led to the filing of a trademark infringement suit against H&M.

The trademark infringement complaint is in relation to the brand of the retail store, which H&M has used in its design for the Justin Bieber tour, and that the design could cause confusion in the mind of people and it can lead to passing off.

The retail store is asking for the court to grant an injunction to stop H&M from permanently selling this collection as it is violating Stadium’s exclusive right by using its brand name in marketing and selling. Also every violation may result in a fine of $1 million Swedish crowns ($120,000).

The increase in the use of Artist merchandise also known as “merch” has led to the need to write this article in relations to a recent suit on the fast rising trend.

What is Artist Merchandising?

When an artist plans to go on tour, artist merchandise sale is the extra cash an artist can make by selling collections made with the artist brand. This basically happens when an artist enters into a contract with a fashion line to make garments in most cases with a semblance of the tour. In the USA, the artist is normally paid 30% of the profit made from the sale of the collection and this also varies per parties.

The recent collaboration between Nigeria’s Orange Culture and musician, Davido, saw an ‘IF Collection’ which made its debut exclusively to Selfridges in September 2017. The IF collection was inspired by Davido’s hit song ‘IF’. Hopefully, this leads to more merchandising concepts in the Nigerian market.

You are asking if artist merchandise is applicable in Nigeria?

Yes, artist merchandise is applicable in Nigeria and the Merchandise Mark Act CAP M10 LFN 2004 guides it.

This means that by virtue of Section 1 of the act, the Aba igbo Traders are participating in a false trade description which in section 3 is a punishable offence called fraud, but due to the inadequacies suffered in the country, and the fact that False trade description is not enforced as should be, both the artist and the traders are ignorant to these inconsistencies, also, lack of a statutory body to enforce this or the non-activity of said statutory body if any. A typical Nigerian market is filled with clothes designs of popular celebrities especially musicians on them, and marked words such as “Starboy”, “OBO” etc.

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