Michael Jackson estate files sues Japanese companies over unapproved products

Michael Jackson’s estate has brought legal charges against three companies in Japan for allegedly selling memorabilia of the late King of Pop without permission.

In the lawsuit filed by the estate in Tokyo District Court last month, the companies in question were identified as Michael Jackson Rights, Michael Jackson Enterprises and Michael Jackson World, as well as a man named Ryosuke Matsuura.

The estate said they were not seeking compensation but an end of the sales of “illegitimate” Michael Jackson goods, such as key chains and mugs with photos of the singer.

Unauthorized Jackson products are valued at 123 million yen ($1.23 million), according to estimates in lawsuit documents.

“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.”

According to the companies’ online sites, they own the rights to Jackson products in Asia. A novelty towel costs 2,100 yen ($21) while a lighter with the pop icon’s face sells for 10,000 yen ($100).

“The defendants are taking advantage of the fact that Michael is dead to act as though they had obtained the rights,” the document said.

Estate attorney Kensuke Ambe said Matsuura is contesting the allegations, but he has not heard back from the others.

Yutaka Fujino, an executive at one of the companies, said Wednesday he wanted to study The Associated Press’s questions before commenting.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: Valeri-DBF/Flickr

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