“Selling New York” furniture infringement case against Core dismissed

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A Brooklyn-based furniture design company has lost its lawsuit against Manhattan-based residential brokerage Core, according to the Hollywood Reporter, after a judge decided that Core’s use of the company’s furniture in a digital image to market an apartment at 240 Park Avenue South did not constitute copyright infringement, trade dress infringement and unfair competition.

Heptagon Creations, better known in the industry by its founder’s name André Joyau, sued Core and the architectural firm PleskowRael in March 2011, after the digital rendering appeared on HGTV’s “Selling New York,” to entice buyers who thought the furniture looked bare without furnishings. The furniture designer was seeking the $353,400 commission paid to Core CEO Shaun Osher for the purchase of penthouse unit 15A, which sold Sept. 8, 2010 for $5.89 million, as well as a halt to any further infringement of its designs.

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Heptagon failed to allege the necessary facts showing that the design elements of the furniture were physically or conceptually distinct from the furniture’s utilitarian elements, the judge said.

For example, “Heptagon argues that the ‘rectangle or silvery bar’ that is part of this lamp is physically separable from the lamp’s functional aspects, as it does not affect the lamp’s ability to produce light. The appended exhibit shows, however, that the silvery bar supports the standing lights, and could not be separated from the lamp without adversely affecting its function as a free standing upright lamp.” [Hollywood Reporter]