An artist has accused Lego of recreating a leather jacket he made for Queer Eye cast member Antoni Porowski without the artist’s permission, claiming a toy jacket included in a Lego set based on the Netflix show is a “blatant copycat” of its design.
James Concannon, whose clothes were regularly worn by Porowski on the popular program, filed a lawsuit against the Danish toy giant in a Connecticut district court last month. The designer, who is seeking damages, alleges that one of the outfits included in the Porowski figure set copies “the unique placement, coordination, and arrangement of individual artistic elements” on the jacket.
In the lawsuit, Concannon alleges that Netflix had consistently asked for his consent to show his clothes in episodes of Queer Eye since 2017, which he gave. Porowski and Concannon later became friends, with Porowski sending Concannon the jacket to create a custom design for him in 2018.
The following year, Porowski wore the jacket in an episode of the show’s fourth season. Concannon alleges Netflix never asked for his permission to feature the jacket on the show, but felt it was an oversight.
The lawsuit says Concannon contacted Lego after seeing the toy jacket in the set, which went on sale last year. He claims a customer service representative gave him the set, which is based on the show’s loft and sells for US$99.99, for his six-year-old son as compensation.
However, another company representative later told him that the company did not give away its products for free.
Concannon alleges that when his lawyer contacted the company, Lego’s lawyers admitted that she had intentionally copied his design, but rejected his attempt to send a cease and desist, arguing that Concannon’s decision to give the jacket to Porowski meant that Netflix had an “implicit”. license” to do whatever he wanted with the design, including allowing Lego to recreate it.
Guardian Australia has contacted Lego for comment.