BrandArena: Pop Artist Sues Apple Over Its 'Start Something New' Campaign

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Pop Artist Sues Apple Over Its 'Start Something New' Campaign

Romero at gallery David Siqueiros.
Image credit:
Pop Artist Romero Britto has filed a lawsuit against Apple over its "Start Something New" campaign, for using Craig & Karl artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for.

The 29-page suit, filed April 6 on behalf of Miami Beach-based Britto Central Inc., claims that the central image in Apple’s campaign infringes on Britto’s “trade dress” and creates unfair competition.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Cupertino, California-based Apple and the design duo Craig Redman of New York and Karl Maier of London, whose company is called Craig & Karl.

The lawsuit accuses the two artists of violating the Britto trade dress and targets Apple because Britto became aware of the copycat art through Apple's recent promotion.

"This specific combination of visual elements when taken in its entirety creates a distinctive overall visual impression that is uniquely Britto," the lawsuit says.

In fact, when the Apple "Start Something New" campaign appeared, Britto received messages congratulating him, incorrectly, for what appeared to be a new business deal with Apple. Some of his existing business partners expressed "consternation" about the supposed deal, according to the lawsuit.

Apple launched its “Start Something New” campaign in the new year and includes images that were entirely “created on an Apple product,” according to the company’s website.

“Every brushstroke, every pixel and every frame of film was brought to life by talented Apple users from around the world,” the website boasts.

The offending image from the campaign features an outstretched hand outlined in black lines and filled in with brilliantly colored polka dots, stripes and crosshatches, among other patterns. It’s mounted on a yellow, banner-type background.

Officials at Apple and Craig & Karl are yet to comment on the issue as at the time of post.

About Romero Britto

Born in 1963, Romero Britto is the youngest of eight children born to a family of very modest means in the Pernambuco region of Brazil. Mr. Britto immigrated to Miami from Brazil with the dream of bringing his art to the world. Initially, Mr. Britto sold his works in the streets of Miami, until he was able to open his first small gallery in or around 1987.

As one of the most successful pop artist of this generation, Britto has managed to create contemporary masterpieces that evoke a spirit of hope and convey a sense of warmth.

Embraced by the international community, Britto’s paintings and sculptures are currently featured on five continents in more than 100 galleries worldwide, including the Saatchi Gallery in London, who recently incorporated his artwork as part of the stable for their new online gallery. In addition, Britto’s artwork is also included in some of the world’s most impressive private collections.

Private collectors of his artwork include: Eileen Guggenheim, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Prince Albert of Monaco, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Michael Jordan, David Rockefeller, Gloria Estefan and former United States Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush to name a few. Roger Federer, Columba Bush, Shakira, Ryan Seacrest and Martha Stewart all own Britto portraits. Romero did a portrait for legendary art dealer Ernest Beyeler , the founder of Art Basel and the Beyeler Foundation for which the portrait helped raise funds. 

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