Fund fails to stop use of Diana's 'likeness'

The memorial fund for Diana, Princess of Wales, has been ordered to pay £1.6m in legal costs after failing to prevent an American company from using her name onmerchandise.

The memorial fund for Diana, Princess of Wales, has been ordered to pay £1.6m in legal costs after failing to prevent an American company from using her name onmerchandise.

The fund began its battle two years ago to try to stop the Franklin Mint from selling items bearing Diana's likeness and name. In June this year, US District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled that the products did not imply endorsement by Diana's estate or its fund.

In Los Angeles yesterday, Judge Cooper called parts of the lawsuit "groundless and unreasonable" and ordered the memorial fund to pay the Franklin Mint's legal fees.

The fund has already lodged an appeal against the June decision and its trustees will now consider an appeal against the new ruling.

A spokeswoman for the fund said it believed the ruling was unjust and that it was trying to prevent a "global free-for-all in Diana merchandise"

But the Franklin Mint said the fund's court action was completely unnecessary. "We are gratified that Judge Cooper has ordered the memorial fund to reimburse us for our legal fees. The fact is we never sought this dispute," it said in a statement.

The latest order takes the cost of the action to the memorial fund to £3.3m.

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