Bob Marley’s estate has won a court case in the United States against a clothing company accused of using the reggae star’s likeness on T-shirts without permission.

Marley’s heirs, known as Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, had previously sued A.V.E.L.A. in 2008 for using photographs of the singer on merchandise.

But the estate lost that case as the judge ruled that they could only succeed if they “show more than mere association” with deceased celebrity’s image.

In order to win their appeal, the Marley estate conducted a survey of more than 500 individuals at shopping centres to ask: “Who do you think gave their permission or approval for this particular T-shirt to be made or put out?”

A total of 37 percent of those questioned said they believed the T-shirts were official, Marley-family sanctioned merchandise.

An appeals court in Nevada decided that there was sufficient evidence that those purchasing the product were confused about who was endorsing the T-shirts featuring Marley’s image.