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
93 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
93 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
93 months ago
It all resembles stained glass to me.

Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudy69 Avatar
93 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
93 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
93 months ago
Are they next going to sue every church which has ever used stained glass?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...
2022 Apple Watch Pride Edition Bands

Apple Announces 2022 Pride Edition Watch Bands and Watch Face

Tuesday May 24, 2022 6:24 am PDT by
Apple today announced new Pride bands for the Apple Watch, with new Pride Edition Sport Loop and Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop options available. The new Pride Edition bands are available to order today for $49 on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app, and will be available at Apple Store locations starting May 26. The Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop is also coming soon to Nike.com. This...