Feb 10, 2017

Melania Trump; a first for a First Lady over brand damage

The First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, has brought a claim against the Daily Mail saying that her lucrative personal brand was damaged by an online article that alleged she worked as an escort in the 1990s.

The claim which has been commenced in New York claims that the Mail Online, in its August article, has affected her brand as she embarks on her journey as a now extremely famous person and has  "impugned her fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States."

The First Lady has registered trade marks for the  word "Melania" and "Melania Trump" for cosmetics, jewellery, skin care and other products.

The Claim was initially commenced in Maryland but was struck out but only on the basis that Maryland did not have any jurisdiction to hear the case.  The Mail Online said 'The Daily Mail published a retraction and apology after the lawsuit was filed, saying in a statement it had not intended to state or suggest that Trump had worked as an escort'.

According to the papers filed the allegation is that the article will reduce her ability to cash in on her status although that has, according to reports in USA Today, been denied by her lawyer.  However it is apparently the first time the First Lady of the United States of America has commenced a law suit (albeit shortly before she assumed that title).  If the reports are correct the claim is said to be worth 120-150 million dollars.

It will be interesting to see how this claim proceeds as it is essentially a libel action but the damage appears to be based on the affect it will have on her brand, even though she is the first lady and ethically should not be seen to be promoting any business interests.

If you have any questions on the above please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: Defamation, EU/International, News

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