The images and likenesses of some celebrities remain extremely valuable long after the celebrity has passed away. One of the most valuable is Marilyn Monroe as she remains a cherished and beloved American icon. Her estate still owns the rights to her image and likeness.
The estate has filed a lawsuit against a lingerie company claiming the company is using Monroe's image on packaging and tags to sell underwear. The estate is requesting that it be paid for past sales, that all future sales be stopped and that all remaining inventory be destroyed.
TMZ reported this story in "Marilyn Monroe Estate Sues Lingerie Line ... Keep This Blondie Out of Your Panties."
From the currently known information concerning this lawsuit this appears to be a simple case. If a celebrity's image is used without permission to sell a product, then the rights holder to that image is owed royalties for the sales and can block future sales.
However, it is not certain why the lingerie company thought it could use Monroe's image. If they had reason to believe the estate gave them permission, then they might have a good defense to the lawsuit.
One thing can be learned from this: celebrities should make sure their likenesses are properly handled in their estate plans. Estate administrators should also be reminded to remain vigilant and be on the lookout for rights' violations.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: TMZ (Nov. 10, 2016) "Marilyn Monroe Estate Sues Lingerie Line ... Keep This Blondie Out of Your Panties."