The latest case of Burberry Jesus is only the tip of the iceberg of improper uses of well-known and reputed marks by third parties. In fact, Burberry Jesus, besides showing also bad faith in attempting to change his name from Marvel (being "Marvel" another reputed brand in terms of cinema production) Yarbrough to Burberry Jesus, promotes himself riding on the coattails of Burberry's reputation via his social media channels, whereby he appears as "Burberry Jesus" and shows pictures of himself with Burberry products (such as the rapper's cars painted with Burberry's distinctive signs, pictures portraying him with Burberry apparel and so forth). The aforesaid generates a clear likelihood of confusion and (even more, I'd say) of association among the general public as to whether the rapper is sponsored by the famous fashion brand Burberry. Obviously, upon attempting to contact the rapper (allegedly a dozen C&D letters have been sent by Burberry) and noticing a clear lack of cooperation, Burberry has now filed the suit since it is now evident that the rapper is attempting to associate the British brand to his public image, which would be surely benefitted by adding an allure of luxury, trading off of the fame and goodwill of Burberry.
*The case is Burberry Limited v. Marvel Yarbrough, 1:20-cv-06909 (N.D. Ill).
According to the newly-filed suit, Burberry alleges that Yarbrough “adopted ‘Burberry Jesus’ as his stage name – which he often shortens to ‘Burberry’ – with an intent to replicate the Burberry brand and copy its well-known trademarks that have been used exclusively and continuously by Burberry and its authorized licensees for more than 160 years.” Yarbrough “uses the fame and renown of the BURBERRY trademark for his own personal gain,” the fashion brand claims, as well as “to promote his music, garner media attention, grow a fan base, and unfairly trade off of Burberry’s goodwill, all to Burberry’s detriment.”