On February 22, Hamilton: An American Musical producer Jeffrey Seller announced that Hamilton Uptown, the musical’s production company, settled a trademark and copyright infringement suit with online retail platforms SunFrog and GearLaunch. Hamilton Uptown and Creative Goods Merchandise filed the complaint against SunFrog, GearLaunch, and several John Doe defendants in October in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the complaint alleged that the companies allowed the John Does to sell counterfeit Hamilton merchandise through their websites. Creative Goods Merchandise, the co-plaintiff, has an exclusive sub-license to use the famous Hamilton star-logo on merchandise.
SunFrog and GearLaunch continue to deny the claims but have agreed to work towards preventing trademark and copyright infringement on their retail platforms in the future. The defendants also agreed to donate to the Hamilton Education Program of the Gilder Lehramn Institute. To promote American history education, the program allows students from qualifying high schools to see Hamilton, the story of the “ten-dollar founding father”, for just ten dollars. In his statement, Jeffrey Seller indicated that all parties share a goal “to prevent fans of Hamilton from being misled into buying unauthorized merchandise” and that Hamilton Uptown will “continue to aggressively prevent the infringement of Hamilton by the ‘John Does’ and others, to the full extent of the law.”
Libby Pica is an Entertainment Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2019).