A man and three firms in Japan were sued by Michael Jackson’s estate for using the late star’s name and brand on key chains, mugs and other products without permission.
The defendants – Ryosuke Matsuura and companies Michael Jackson Asian Rights, Michael Jackson Enterprises and Michael Jackson World – are not required compensations, but to stop their actions.
The firms’ websites claim the companies own the rights to produce Jackson products in Asia, display photos of the singer, and sell Y2,100 ($21) towels, Y525 ($5) post cards and Y10,000 ($100) lighters that have his image plastered on them.
The estate said it wants to protect its legitimate partners and preserve the legacy of Jackson, who died in California in 2009 from an anesthetic overdose.
“Many in Japan have been misled by the defendants,” the estate said in a statement. “Michael loved his millions of Japanese fans, all of whom deserve the opportunity to purchase legitimate and authentic Michael Jackson goods.”
The illegal products were estimated at Y123 million ($1.23 million) by the estate, according to the international press.
“The defendants are taking advantage of the fact that Michael is dead to act as though they have obtained the rights,” the documents said.