As Hamilton continues to sell out shows, the award-winning play is now fighting an unfortunate side effect of its popularity: knock-off merchandise The production company for the blockbuster musical “Hamilton” accused a popular online T-shirt retailer SunFrog of selling shirts with the “Hamilton” logo that weren’t authorized by the musical or its merchandise affiliates. HamiltonCo, the production entity for Hamilton, is suing SunFrog and GearLaunch for copyright and trademark infringement and dilution, claiming the companies are selling unauthorized merchandise bearing the production’s iconic logo.
Hamilton Uptown LLC said SunFrog LLC, which is expected to rake in $100 million in sales this year, is allowing graphic designers to make and sell shirts that look like official “Hamilton” merchandise and use its iconic star logo without the musical production’s permission. GearLaunch licenses software and manages online stores for its clients and SunFrog manufactures customized clothing, according to the complaint. The lawsuit claims the companies are exploiting the production’s popularity and goodwill to cash in on unauthorized clothing. The only legitimate goods are made by Creative Goods Merchandise, which has an exclusive sub-license to incorporate the Hamilton logo and trademark.
The wildly popular musical is sold out through mid-2017 and demand for tickets has driven the prices sky-high since its release. In June, the musical won 11 of its record 16 Tony Award nominations. And its outside-Broadway sales have also done well, with the official soundtrack album selling more than 1 million copies and its social media accounts generating hundreds of thousands of followers.
The suit includes claims of copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution.
HamiltonCo is seeking the companies to pay out the profits they garnered from the unlicensed merchandise or statutory damages, on top of a court injunction to prevent the companies from making, marketing or selling the unlicensed merchandise.
Keywords: copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, Hamilton, musical, merchandise.