Michael Jackson’s Estate Suing Japanese Companies Over Allegedly Unauthorized Merchandise
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 10.09.2013
Jackson’s estate trying to put a stop to certain Japanese merchandise…
The Associated Press (via Billboard) reports that Michael Jackson's estate is suing a man and three companies in Japan, alleging that they are using the name and likeness of the late pop star without permission.
The lawsuit was filed in Tokyo District Court last month. The lawsuit reportedly is not seeking money but demands the companies stop making key chains, mugs, and other products with Jackson's name and likeness on them. The suit names Ryosuke Matsuura and three companies: Michael Jackson Asian Rights; Michael Jackson Enterprises; and Michael Jackson World.
The companies are said to run elaborate online sites that proclaim it owns the rights to Jackson products in Asia, displays photos of Jacksons, and sells 2,100 yen ($21) towels, 525 yen ($5) post cards, and 10,000 yen ($100) lighters with his image featured on them.
The estate claimed they want to protect its legitimate partners and preserve the legacy of Jackson, who passed away in 2009. Jackson's estate claimed in a statement, "Many in Japan have been misled by the defendants. Michael loved his millions of Japanese fans, all of whom deserve the opportunity to purchase legitimate and authentic Michael Jackson goods."
Yutaka Fujino, an executive at one of the companies named in the suit, said this week that he wanted to study the AP's questions before commenting. Estate attorney Kensuke Ambe said Matsuura is contesting the allegations, but he has not heard back from the others.
The estate is claiming an estimated value of the unauthorized products at 123 million yen ($1.23 million), per the lawsuit documents. The documents stated, "The defendants are taking advantage of the fact that Michael is dead to act as though they have obtained the rights."