Harry Styles files lawsuit against merch counterfeiters

Image by Lily Redman, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

English singer and former One Direction band member Harry Styles has filed a lawsuit in the US, seeking to curb online sales of counterfeit merchandise.

The federal lawsuit – filed in Chicago this week – accuses a long list of  e-commerce store operators of "offering for sale and/or selling unauthorised and unlicensed products, including apparel and other merchandise, using infringing and counterfeit versions of [Styles'] registered trademarks."

The activity has caused Styles to be "irreparably damaged through consumer confusion, dilution, and tarnishment" of his brand – which includes merchandise such as clothing, headwear, and various accessories, it continues.

The London-based singer launched a solo career in 2016, with a series of successful albums including 2022's Harry’s House, and kicked off a 22-month tour to promote his most recent two albums in September 2021. Merchandise is sold at concert venues as well as through retail affiliates, pop-up shops and the website.

The defendants in the lawsuit are "individuals and business entities of unknown makeup who own and/or operate one or more of the e-commerce stores" on platforms including Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Alibaba,, Walmart, Etsy, and DHgate, according to the complaint.

Legislation recently passed in the US will force online retailers like Amazon that allow third-party sellers to verify their identity, in a bid to reduce this sort of anonymous activity.

For now however "tactics used by defendants to conceal their identities and the full scope of their operation make it virtually impossible for plaintiff to learn defendants' true identities and the exact interworking of their counterfeit network," it says.

Styles' company has set up an anti-counterfeiting programme that regularly investigates suspicious e-commerce stores identified in proactive Internet sweeps and reported by consumers.

The suit is seeking an injunction of the sales of counterfeits as well as damages, and is alleging trademark infringement and counterfeiting and false designation of origin.

"Plaintiff is forced to file this action to combat defendants’ counterfeiting of its registered trademarks, as well as to protect unknowing consumers from purchasing counterfeit products over the Internet," according to court documents.

Image by Lily Redman, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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