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Michael Jackson estate sues over products in Japan

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Michael Jackson's estate is suing a man and three companies in Japan, alleging they are using the name and likeness of the late pop star on products without permission.

The lawsuit filed in Tokyo District Court last month does not seek money but demands the actions stop. It names Ryosuke Matsuura and three companies, Michael Jackson Asian Rights, Michael Jackson Enterprises and Michael Jackson World.

The companies run elaborate online sites that proclaim they own the rights to Jackson products in Asia, display photos of the singer, and sell products such as towels, post cards and lighters that have his image plastered on them.

The estate said it wants to protect its legitimate partners and preserve the legacy of Jackson, who died in California in 2009 from an anesthetic overdose.

“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.”

Yutaka Fujino, an executive at one of the companies, said Wednesday he wanted to study media questions before commenting. Estate attorney Kensuke Ambe said Matsuura is contesting the allegations, but he has not heard back from the others. Matsuura did not answer repeated calls.

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