Beatles-owned companies launch $100 million lawsuit against online merch sellers

Bettmann via Getty ImagesThe Beatles‘ Apple Corps Ltd. and Subafilms Ltd. companies have launched a $100 million copyright-infringement lawsuit against nearly 50 online merchandise sellers they claim have been peddling counterfeit Fab Four items, Billboard reports.

The suit, which was filed Thursday, alleges that the various internet dealers are guilty of trademark counterfeiting and infringement, common law unfair competition, and using “false designation of origins” to potentially confuse consumers about the authenticity of the merchandise, among other charges. The suit maintains that the unauthorized goods from the various companies also are being sold at Amazon, eBay, Etsy and other online retailers.

Among the many counterfeit items, the lawsuit claims, are bed linens and pillowcases, all types of apparel, shoes, mobile device cases, pendants and backpacks. The suit maintains that the quality of these goods is “substantially and materially different than that of Plaintiffs’ respective, genuine goods.”

The suit is seeking $2 million in damages for each phony trademark used or product sold, as well as injunctions to halt the manufacture, distribution and sale of the items, block the use of the domain names the Internet companies have been utilizing, and to have the various listings removed from the commercial online retailers’ sites.

Apple Corps Ltd. is a company owned by surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison, that oversees the merchandising rights and other business aspects involving the band. Subafilms Ltd. is a subsidiary company concerned with the merchandising rights of the group’s 1968 animated flick, Yellow Submarine.

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