December 22, 2014

Roberto Cavalli Sued for Copying Street Art

According to a newly-filed lawsuit, Roberto Cavalli S.p.A. has angered a group of Northern California-based graffiti artists, who have sued the fashion house for allegedly copying their work and incorporating it into the brand’s “Graffiti” collection. Jason Williams, Victor Chapa, and Jeffrey Rubin (who actually go by Revok, Reyes and Steel, respectively) filed suit in the Central District of California court, claiming that Roberto Cavalli infringed their copyrights and violated the Lanham Act, stemming from a work they completed in San Francisco’s Mission district in 2012. Their complaint states that in March, “Just Cavalli introduced a clothing and accessories collection in which every square inch of every piece (including clothing, bags, backpacks, and shoes) was adorned with graffiti art.” The court documents go on to state: ”If this literal misappropriation was not bad enough, Cavalli sometimes chose to do its own painting over that of the artists — superimposing the Just Cavalli name in spray-paint style as if were part of the original work. Sometimes, Cavalli added what appears to be a signature, creating the false impression that Roberto Cavalli himself was the artist.”

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Not only are the artists asking the court to award them damages, they want Cavalli’s collection discontinued, as it is portraying them in a very unflattering light. According to the complaint, “Nothing is more antithetical to the outsider ‘street cred’ that is essential to graffiti artists … than association with European chic, luxury and glamour — of which Cavalli is the epitome. To anyone who recognizes their work, Plaintiffs are now wide open to charges of ‘selling out.’”

This is not only lawsuit that Cavalli is facing in connection with its Just Cavalli collection. You may recall that the MTO Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism filed suit against the brand late last month for allegedly stealing the MTO’s trademarked logo and putting it front and center in the Just Cavalli fragrance campaign. According to the MTO’s complaint, which cites both federal and common law trademark infringement and trademark dilution, Lanham Act violations, and federal unfair competition, it “is informed and believes that [Roberto Cavalli] has manufactured, sourced, marketed, and/or sold substantial quantities of perfume bottles, shirts, watches, shoes, and other garments bearing the Sacred Emblem or a simulation of [its] Sacred Emblem which is virtually identical thereto.”

And in case that’s not enough, Coach is also in hot water thanks to a street art-related lawsuit. Internationally-renowned visual artist Maya Hayuk slapped an already troubled Coach, Inc. with a copyright infringement lawsuit, claiming the New York-based brand copied her “Chem Trails NYC” mural in a recent ad campaign. More to come on these cases soon …

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5 Comments

  1. Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’m a designer my whole fashion brand is based on a few signature designs I created. I had my configurations of designs protected by IP, “protect against infringements”. What makes me ill is that I’m finding big fashion brands are taking my designs my creations my hard work and using them with out asking or paying. I have seen my designs all over other famouse brands. It’s horrendously depressing. It needs to change.

  2. Claire
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    We as young designers and artist are not being protected. Instead of sponsoring our work corporations like RC prove that they can get away with copying, In class we cannot even copy each other so this is really plagiarism and infringement at its worst. Off course he has been able to do this because he has been given assurity for his actions, by influencing patent offices and others who seem to be protecting him! It is really sad because he is not really a creative designer just a rip off merchant who offends others faiths :(

  3. Golzar
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    One who copy’s has no creative essence. What a shame that he is considered to the standard of a “designer”, when really he has shown that he has no creative bone. I will not buy anything from someone who is ‘ok’ with infringing! Will you?

  4. MG
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The graffiti artists do not have a leg to stand on!
    Real artist’s that do not deface private and public property with
    Scribble that we tax payers have
    To pay for and now they want protection!
    Haven’t we dumbed down enough
    Of our culture
    POP culture needs an enema!

    • J
      Posted September 8, 2014 at 1:38 am | Permalink

      Hey MG, actually this mural was done with the city and buildings owners permission! It’s beautiful legal artwork!

9 Trackbacks

  1. […] artists, Jason Willams known as Revok, Victor Chapa known Reye, and Jeffrey Rubin known Steel, who recently filed a landmark lawsuit in California against embroiled fashion designer Roberto Caval…. The artists claim that Cavalli copied artwork from the trio’s legal and widely celebrated […]

  2. […] artists, Jason Willams known as Revok, Victor Chapa known Reye, and Jeffrey Rubin known Steel, who recently filed a landmark lawsuit in California against embroiled fashion designer Roberto Caval…. The artists claim that Cavalli copied artwork from the trio’s legal and widely celebrated […]

  3. […] artists, Jason Willams known as Revok, Victor Chapa known Reye, and Jeffrey Rubin known Steel, who recently filed a landmark lawsuit in California against embroiled fashion designer Roberto Caval…. The artists claim that Cavalli copied artwork from the trio’s legal and widely celebrated […]

  4. […] artists, Jason Willams known as Revok, Victor Chapa known Reye, and Jeffrey Rubin known Steel, who recently filed a landmark lawsuit in California against embroiled fashion designer Roberto Caval…. The artists claim that Cavalli copied artwork from the trio’s legal and widely celebrated […]

  5. […] artists, Jason Willams known as Revok, Victor Chapa known Reye, and Jeffrey Rubin known Steel, who recently filed a landmark lawsuit in California against embroiled fashion designer Roberto Caval…. The artists claim that Cavalli copied artwork from the trio’s legal and widely celebrated […]

  6. […] mochilas e sapatos — estava decorado com grafitti”, afirma a denúncia, de acordo com o “The Fashion Law”. “Se essa literalmente apropriação indevida não fosse ruim o bastante, Cavalli optou […]

  7. […] their artwork into his Graffiti collection for his secondary line, Just Cavalli. According to The Fashion Law, the artists, who call themselves Revok, Reyes, and Steel, painted a mural in San Francisco that […]

  8. By Roberto Cavalli sued by graffiti artists | on August 29, 2014 at 12:32 am

    […] to The Fashion Law, a 3 group credit Cavalli of infringing their copyrights and violating a Lanham Act by producing a […]

  9. […] to The Fashion Law,[2] the three men accuse Cavalli of infringing their copyrights and violating the Lanham Act by […]

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