The renowned fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, along with the additional retailers Staff USA, Nordstrom, Amazon, and Zappos, have lost a motion to dismiss claims of plagiarism by a group of graffiti artists. The case will now proceed to trial.
A California federal judge found that the signatures of the artists as seen on their 2012 Mission District mural in San Francisco could constitute copyright-identifying information. In addition, the inclusion of the artwork on ‘Just Cavalli’ apparel sold at retailers such as Amazon and Nordstrom could also constitute trademark infringement and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act.
The group of three artists claim that designs used for the Spring Summer 2014 Just Cavalli “Graffiti” collection was directly copied, without the artists’ knowledge or permission, from the Mission District mural. The reproduction of the artists’ signatures is particularly significant as it could be seen as misleading the consumer as to source of the product. The graffiti motif is prominently featured in the collection, which covers nearly 50 products, including men’s and women’s clothing as well as accessories.