Apple Sued Over Copycat Artist Work in 'Start Something New' Campaign

Pop artist Romero Britto last week 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 lawsuit, levied at both Craig & Karl and Apple, 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.

craigandkarl
Apple uses a Craig & Karl image featuring a patchwork hand on a bright yellow background on one of the iPads in the graphics used to promote the "Start Something New" campaign, and there's a profile of Craig & Karl on the company's website describing how the image was made on an iPad Air 2 using iOS apps.

Apple also featured the Craig & Karl image heavily in retail stores, leading people to contact Britto with the false impression that he had created the artwork, where he discovered that the two had been making art similar to his own for years.

As with any Apple campaign, the Start Something New Campaign had massive exposure and breathless press coverage, and many of the media profiles prominently featured the Infringing Apple Image. Plaintiff was inundated with reports of the Start Something New campaign and the Infringing Apple Image. These reports ranged from, for example, incorrect congratulations on Mr. Britto's new deal with Apple, to consternation from business partners in potentially collaborative or competing product categories, to inquiries from collectors wanting to know if the image they saw in the Apple store or on the Apple website was by Romero Britto.

Britto's work is fairly well-known and on display in dozens of locations around the world. He's also worked with multiple different brands on major advertising campaigns, with all of his work featuring bright colors, strong lines, and simple designs.

brittocomparisonimages
According to the lawsuit, Britto's specific Trade Dress is "strong, fanciful, non-functional, and inherently distinctive," composed of vibrant color combinations, the juxtaposition of different patterns, bold black outlines, and "uplifting, bright and happy visual themes." A quick visual comparison of Britto's work next to Craig & Karl's does indeed reveal similarities between the two.


Britto contacted Apple and asked the company to cease using the Craig & Karl images, but he did not receive a response, leading him to file a lawsuit. Britto is asking for damages and attorneys' fees, along with an injunction that would require Apple to stop using the artwork and Craig & Karl to stop producing artwork that mimics his style.

Top Rated Comments

mcdj Avatar
119 months ago
"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for."

Britto who?

"artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Picasso was famous for."

Fixed.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AronDraws Avatar
119 months ago
If memory serves, you cannot copyright an art style. If they used his actual art, thats an issue. If it's influenced by his art, it's not something he can go after them for.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
840quadra Avatar
119 months ago
It all resembles stained glass to me.

Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudy69 Avatar
119 months ago
Let me save you all time from reading the forum comments:

Because it's a lawsuit against Apple, nobody here will see the likeness. How dare you Craig & Karl-you must have penetrated Apple security and stole it from them their idea vault! Down with you!

Image (http://darkskyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/pitchforks_torches1.jpg)

Apple aside, that's not how art works. The work featured might use similar techniques but that's it (and that's 100% legal). It's a nuisance suit that should get thrown out very quickly
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theheadguy Avatar
119 months ago
Let me save you all time from reading the forum comments:

Because it's a lawsuit against Apple, nobody here will see the likeness. Down with you Britto!

Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
119 months ago
Are they next going to sue every church which has ever used stained glass?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...