Rihanna Proved Costly for Puma, Brand Loses Patent Dispute

Puma, a sportswear brand, recently lost a patent case against a sports shoe designed by pop singer Rihanna. A Dutch children’s footwear manufacturer stated that the design was already in the public domain – owing to pop singer Rihanna’s Instagram photo.

Rihanna showed off her cool new shoes in her Instagram post in December 2014. As seen in her photo – white shoes with a thick black sole – this marked the Barbadian singer taking up the position as Puma’s creative director.

In 2016, Puma applied with the EU’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to get legal protection for the brand’s designs. But in 2022, a Dutch shoe company HJVH secured the invalidation of the design. Puma appealed this but failed.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri)

The EUIPO stated that Rihanna had worn the shoes showing the design with the same features 12 months before the registration was filed by Puma in 2016. Puma argued that nobody was interested in Rihanna’s shoes back in 2014. But the court rejected the sportswear company’s argument, saying that Rihanna is a world-famous pop star. It said her fans developed a particular interest in the shoes that she wore on the day that she signed the contract with Puma.

The court highlighted that the images were proof enough that the design was made public. It said the disclosure could have become known to consumers and divulged by circles in the respective sector. The court added that Rihanna’s post make it possible to identify, with the naked eye or enlarging those photos – all essential features of the prior design.

Also Read: Booking.com Focuses on Evolving Desires of Travelers, Explores Diverse Personas with Tina Fey

author avatar
Nandika Chand