Intellecutal Property Law

Artist Claims Bookends Violate His Rights to Balloon Dogs

A lawyer from the Jones Day law firm has dispatched a letter that claims bookends made by a Toronto company too closely resemble a balloon dog sculpture made by artist Jeff Koons.

Koons’ balloon dog has been made in two versions; one is 10 feet tall and the other is 10½ inches high, the New York Times reports. The price ranges from $7,250 to $12,500.

According to the Times, Koons’ balloon dog has a reflective quality. The bookends, on the other hand, are made of painted resin, come in matte colors, and are “slightly less bulbous than the Koons,” the story says. They sell for $30 each.

A lawyer for the bookend manufacturer, imm Living, told the Times that his client wasn’t even aware of Koons’ sculpture until receiving the cease-and-desist letter. The San Francisco store selling the bookends, Park Life, is still offering the items for sale.

Intellectual property lawyer Robert Clarida told the newspaper that Koons may have a claim to a trademark violation if consumers were misled into believing he had made the bookends. A claimed copyright violation would likely depend on whether imm Living had copied specific characteristics of Koons’ balloon dog, he said.

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers.

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