The estate of late American artist Vera Neumann is taking Kate Spade to task for copyright infringement. The Vera Company claims the fashion house used Neumann’s Poppy Field print without consent on its apparel items and accessories.
It seems Spade has long admired Neumann’s work. In fact, in her 2004 Style by Kate Spade, she wrote, “When Vera made scarves, there was nothing cutesy about them. They always made you feel happy.” Now that seemingly innocent passage will be used as evidence in upcoming legal proceedings.
It could be a costly blunder for Kate Spade, as The Vera Company is reportedly asking for a million dollars plus interest in damages. It’s also seeking legal fees and all copies of the infringing products and the paraphernalia used to make them. So far representatives for Kate Spade and its parent company Fifth & Pacific Cos are refusing to comment. Perhaps that’s for the best.
Looking at the prints side by side, I’m not sure how this one will pan out. Kate Spade’s used different colors and her poppies are more scattered than they were in Neumann’s work. There’s definitely an influence, as acknowledged in Spade’s book, but exactly how many ways can one draw poppies? Are the similarities so great that a lawsuit’s deserved?
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