Artist sues Apple over alleged copycat work in 'Start Something New' marketing

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 72
    ronnronn Posts: 326member

    I worked at the Guggenheim right after graduating from high school. This fool's artwork is "inspired" by many artists, from various schools: Picasso, Mondrian, Warhol, Lichtenstein, hell too many to name.

     

    IMO, a money grab since Apple is involved.

  • Reply 22 of 72
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,031moderator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gunner1954 View Post



    Does this mean anyone can be sued for creating art (of any type) 'In-the-style-of' (Manet vs Monet?) another artist? So long as Craig & Karl haven't COPIED Britto's art or passed their work as being created by Britto, then I don't believe Britto will prevail in this suit. Then again, stranger things have happened in US courts.



    Rounded rectangles, anyone?



    To be fair, Apple did not sue to protect the notion of rounded rectangles.  

     

    Among Apple's assertions in its lawsuit was that Samsung copied elements of the iPhone and iPad for which Apple holds several patents.  These particular patents are known as design patents.  It seems a lot of folks don't take these patents seriously and go as far as to suggest that they should not exist.  There is a good reason why they do exist, but to explain this we have to begin with a bit of a side trip and requires that we speak about trademark law.  Bear with me on this and hopefully I'll be able to clarify the purpose of design patents and provide some insights into the Apple versus Samsung trial.

     


    Most people are familiar with the idea of a trademark.  By way of example, Kellogg, the cereal maker, has a trademark on Tony the Tiger and fought a battle with Exxon over Kellogs' claim that the use of an unnamed tiger in Exxon's advertising violates Kellogg's trademark for Tony the Tiger.  Why?  For 30 years, Exxon used its tiger character exclusively to promote its gasoline blend, but then, in the 1990's began using it to sell food. Kellogg said consumers are confused by the similarity between the cartoon tigers and may conclude that Kellogg is somehow behind soda, coffee and other items for sale at Exxon's TigerMart stores.  The case went back and forth for several years, with Exxon initially winning the case, but ultimately losing on appeal.  This case would not seem extraordinary to most people as most folks understand the concept of protecting a unique trademark like Kellogg's Tony the Tiger character.


     


    Now let's look at another case, one that comes closer to the Apple vs Samsung case, but still an application of trademark law.  This case is Ferrari vs Robert's Replicas.  Back in the 1980's Robert's Replica's was in the business of manufacturing fiberglass kits that replicated the exterior features of Ferrari's Daytona Spyder and Testarossa automobiles. Roberts' copies were called the Miami Spyder and the Miami Coupe, respectively.  Ferrari brought suit against Roberts in March 1988 alleging trademark infringement. 


     


    Here's what this case was about:  After Ferrari vehicles have been on the market for a number of years, the design of those vehicles acquires what's called "secondary meaning", a concept at the heart of trademark law.  Secondary meaning refers to an association of a design, like the design of a Ferrari vehicle, with quality and craftsmanship or other positive attributes one might associate with the Ferrari brand.  After a design has acquired secondary meaning, trademark law can be applied to protect the company from those who would copy its designs and use them to promote their own products.  Robert's copying of Ferrari's iconic designs could confuse the public and dilute the strength of Ferrari's brand.  Just the presence of large numbers of replicas would dilute Ferrari's image of exclusivity, causing financial harm to Ferrari.  Trademark law, under the concept of secondary meaning, protected Ferrari.  The courts ruled in favor of Ferrari in this case and enjoined Roberts from producing the Miami Spyder and the Miami Coupe.


     


    But how does this relate to design patent law? 


     


    The problem with using trademark law to protect a company's designs (under trademark law a product design or package design is referred to as "trade dress") is that a product has to be on the market for a long time before its design acquires secondary meaning (i.e. before the design becomes iconic and is seen by consumers as representative of the company behind the product). When competitors come in immediately after a new product design is introduced and copy it, as is the assertion in the Apple vs Samsung case, the originator of the design doesn't have the luxury of time needed for its product design to acquire secondary meaning in the eyes of consumers.  Consumers immediately see the same design from multiple companies and so don't grow to associate the design with the company that originated that design.


     


    This is where design patents come in. Where trademark protection of an iconic product design has no expiration, it takes time for a new product to acquire that protection (as stated above). A design patent offers immediate protection of a new and novel design and for a period of 14 years thereafter, giving a company protection of its original designs until they acquire secondary meaning in the market and therefore protection under trademark law. So the design patent serves a valuable function for companies like Ferrari, and Apple.
  • Reply 23 of 72
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 414member
    teejay2012 wrote: »
    Mr Britto should stick to making water filters.
    That's his sister Brita.
  • Reply 24 of 72
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Seriously?  So only this clown is allowed to make art with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?

    Ridiculous.

    He is a widely respected Brazilian artist and the copycat issue is blatantly clear. Besides, this is exactly what trade dress is about: protection of expression of ideas that result in clear trade identities, not protection of ideas themselves.

    Apple should just pay and STFU.
  • Reply 25 of 72
    milkmagemilkmage Posts: 152member
    "bright colors, thick black lines, and combinations of different patterns in upbeat themes"

    so basically Keith Haring?

    http://www.haring.com/!/year/1986
  • Reply 26 of 72
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    Seriously?  So only this clown is allowed to make art with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?

     

    Ridiculous.




    Descriptions aside, this guy's work is virtually indistinguishable from Britto's. Unless he can show that his artistic style predates Britto's, it does look like he's pulling the artistic equivalent of a Samsung move and capitalizing on Britto's fame by copying his style. A local street artist's work was similarly ripped off by a major retail chain last year. Just as companies have a right to protect their intellectual property, artists have a right to protect theirs.

     

    Having said that, I consider Britto's artwork to be completely hollow, uninspiring, and lacking in substance or social commentary. It's nothing but commercialistic, feel-good nonsense designed to appeal to corporate and political sponsors while avoiding any sort of meaning that might be construed as controversial or intellectually challenging. Britto's work is a joke in the art community.

  • Reply 27 of 72
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Four short paragraphs.

    But from the article, I still can't figure out what the plaintiff is alleging. (?)

  • Reply 28 of 72
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    Four short paragraphs.

    But from the article, I still can't figure out what the plaintiff is alleging. (?)




    Do a Google image search for Britto's work and compare for yourself.

  • Reply 29 of 72
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by milkmage View Post



    "bright colors, thick black lines, and combinations of different patterns in upbeat themes"



    so basically Keith Haring?



    http://www.haring.com/!/year/1986



    Well, stylistically, Haring's work is clearly distinct from Britto's. The differences are pretty obvious. Style aside, Haring's art is known for its powerful themes surrounding topics like racism, greed, ecological impacts and disease. Britto's work, in contrast, is tame, meaningless eye candy with all the depth and impact of a "Don't worry, be happy" bumper sticker.

  • Reply 30 of 72
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    http://www.britto.com/front/originals I've seen children draw like this. What gives him the right to be the only one who can, as sog35 states, draw "with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?" If you look at stylistic stained glass artwork, this is how it would be done. Nothing on his gallery showed any hands.

     


     

    His style is what I would call "Stained Glass". How in the world could he try to take credit for what is effectively a digital version of stained glass? Hope this guy doesn't get 1 cent.

  • Reply 31 of 72
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Roy Lichtenstein Foundation should sue both artists, and be done with it.

  • Reply 32 of 72
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,543member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brlawyer View Post



    *whine* *whine*



    Ah... the keyboard kowboy is back with his usual rant.  



    How's those one million watch orders on opening day making you feel Mr. Nostradamus?  Gonna try moving the goal post?

  • Reply 33 of 72
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,001member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    Roy Lichtenstein Foundation should sue both artists, and be done with it.




    And of course Roy Lichtenstein was directly copying actual comic art panels... Oh, the irony.

  • Reply 34 of 72
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,543member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    Seriously?  So only this clown is allowed to make art with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes?

     

    Ridiculous.




    Well... if it had rounded corners, he would have had a case... /s

  • Reply 35 of 72
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Stained glass window makers are probably wondering about suing him! Nice stuff though, I like his work.

     

    We would've never heard of Britto if he didn't sue. Maybe the money is in the publicity of the lawsuit?

  • Reply 36 of 72
    I think that the original North American first nations artists could also decide to be upset by the use of modern art work "with bright colors, thick black lines, and upbeat themes."

    https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1860&bih=1060&q=canadian aboriginal artwork&oq=Canadian aboriginal art
  • Reply 37 of 72
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member

    While this has very little to do with Apple, it's still amusing to see some of the ridiculous things people sue each other over.

     

    It's needless to say that Britto filing this complaint is a bad move, likely forced upon him for pride/reputational reasons and definitely not by merit.

     

    The defence will have an easy time here, showing examples of other artists that predate Britto and use this style. We're not even talking about obscure artists, Britto's style emulates one of the most famous masters, Picasso's Femme à la resille  (Woman in a Hairnet) or Grande Nature morte au guéridon (Still Life with a Pedestal Table.) Not to mention numerous others.

     

     

     

    The trade dress filing of "strong, fanciful, non-functional, and inherently distinctive," composed of vibrant color combinations, the juxtaposition of different patterns, bold black outlines, and "uplifting, bright and happy visual themes."

    The idea that the defence is not going to find other art that satisfies this set is farcical, Britto is about to inflict a lot of reputational damage upon himself.

  • Reply 38 of 72
    ransonranson Posts: 22member
    What I love about stories like this is that the plaintiff, who will most certainly lose the suit, has done nothing but draw more attention and sales to his competitors by suing them than they would have otherwise received. Free advertising and capitalism at its finest.
  • Reply 39 of 72
    sog35 wrote: »
    Now we know who's Britto's lawyer is.

    Are you preparing for your ban after Apple sells 15 million watches?

    He's just here to join the pitchfork party against Apple.
  • Reply 40 of 72
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    bobschlob wrote: »
     
    Roy Lichtenstein Foundation should sue both artists, and be done with it.


    And of course Roy Lichtenstein was directly copying actual comic art panels... Oh, the irony.

    Right...? Ha.
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