The story at a glance
- New York fashion designer James Concannon is suing Lego, alleging the toy company made a miniature version of one of his designs without his consent.
- Lego released a “Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft” Lego set in September, which includes a jacket mirrored after Concannon’s design.
- Lawyers for Lego admitted to copying Concannon’s design, but rejected a cease and desist order.
A New York fashion designer is suing Lego for copyright infringement, claiming the toy company modeled a minifigure after one of his designs without his permission.
Fashion designer James Concannon, whose clothes have been worn on the Netflix show “Queer Eye” by actor Antoni Porowski since 2017, in a lawsuit filed in December accused Lego of “willful infringement” and seeks damages.
The artist claims the world’s biggest toy company created a “blatant copycat” of a leather jacket he designed for Porowski in 2018.
Lego in September released a “Queer Eye – The Fab 5 LoftLego set, which features each of the show’s hosts and outfit swaps for each character.
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According to Concannon’s lawsuit, one of the outfits included in the Porowski figure set reflects “the unique placement, coordination, and arrangement of individual artistic elements” on the jacket, which showcases “the iconic aesthetic of the artist steeped in propaganda”.
“The Concannon jacket itself is not protectable. What is protectable here – and what is at issue in this case – is the skull, the peace sign, the writing and the placement of these elements on the jacket,” said Julie Zerbo, founder of The Fashion Law at Changing America.
“In order to be able to truly make a successful and viable case against Lego, the court will have to find that these elements are in fact copyrightable, and that Lego’s jacket reproduces them in a substantially similar way. “, said Zerbo. . “I don’t foresee this going to be an easy deal for James Concannon.”
In her lawsuit, Concannon alleges that Netflix — the streaming service that produces “Queer Eye” — regularly asked for permission to feature her clothes on the show. He said Netflix failed to reach out before airing the show’s fourth season, where Porowski is seen wearing the jacket, but Concannon believes this was an oversight.
Lawyers for Lego admitted that the company intentionally copied Concannon’s design, but rejected a cease and desist order sent by Concannon’s lawyer, according to the lawsuit.
“Although he admitted that he intentionally copied the Concannon jacket during the development of the Fab 5 Loft set, Lego did not offer to compensate Concannon for copying his creation, did not seek permission of Concannon to copy his creation and gave no credit to Concannon when he copied his creation,” the lawsuit states.
As compensation, Lego offered to send Concannon a free Fab 5 Loft set, which sells for $99.99, for the artist’s 6-year-old son — an offer the toy company later retracted, according to the lawsuit, telling Concannon it’s not giving away products for free.
Lego did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Posted on January 18, 2022