A Legal Blow for Diana Memorial Fund
The marketing of the late Princess Diana will continue, thanks to a decision reached Wednesday by a San Francisco federal appeals court, reports Reuters. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision in favor of Pennsylvania-based Franklin Mint Co., which was sued by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The fund had accused Franklin Mint of using the late princess's name and picture on jewelry, plates and dolls without its consent. The case was based in California because there is a state law on the books that could have prohibited the sale of items featuring dead celebrities without the consent of their estates, but a three-judge panel ruled that it would have to consider British laws, which do not require consent. The court also upheld a $2.3 million award to Franklin Mint to cover legal expenses. The memorial fund, established after Diana's fatal 1997 car crash, so far has authorized some 20 American companies -- but not the Franklin Mint -- to use Diana's name and likeness for a variety of products, with profits going to charity. Lawyers for the fund could not be reached for comment, reports Reuters.
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