The Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC may pursue trademark infringement claims against a company for marketing merchandise similar to products licensed, manufactured, or distributed by the estate, the Southern District of New York said.
The court rejected A.V.E.L.A. Inc.'s contention that persona rights of deceased celebrities are limited to family, direct heirs, or “the actual estate.” Although the estate purchased the rights, an “unbroken chain of title” extends from Monroe to the estate, the court said.
The court also shot down A.V.E.L.A.'s defenses based on the First Amendment, fair use and the estate’s alleged failure to take timely action.