5 January 2016Trademarks

Target cleared in Rosa Parks image rights dispute

Rosa Parks may be best known for her refusal to move from her seat on the bus, but her many years of campaigning for equality places her at the centre of the civil rights movement story in the US.

And according to a judgment handed down by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit yesterday, January 4, it is important that the story continues to be promoted without too many restrictions.

The eleventh circuit upheld a ruling from the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama that dismissed the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development’s claim that a number of films and books sold by retailer Target infringed her image rights.

The dispute centred on seven books, a film called “The Rosa Parks Story” and a collage-styled plaque featuring an image of her and Martin Luther King. All of the items were sold on Target’s online shop.

In 2013, the institute sued Target alleging misappropriation of her image and unjust enrichment.

Target filed for a summary judgment, which was granted by the court in February 2015, prompting the institute to appeal against the ruling.

Upholding the district court’s ruling, Judge Robin Rosenbaum at the eleventh circuit said “the use of Rosa Parks’s name and likeness in the books, movie, and plaque is necessary to chronicling and discussing the history of the Civil Rights Movement”.

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More on this story

11 February 2015   A US court has ruled that retail chain Target did not infringe the image rights belonging to late civil rights activist Rosa Parks.