SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHING VALIDITY OF 40 YEAR OLD COPYRIGHT THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN ABANDONED TO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
Van Cleef & Arpels is a world famous fashion house, known as the “Jeweler to Royalty.” Among its successful products is its Alhambra jewelry line. First designed and introduced in 1968, in the last decade it has enjoyed a revival, with skyrocketing sales and abundant media exposure. But with success comes imitation – knockoff jewelry at all price levels became rampant.
Van Cleef had a copyright registration for the Alhambra design. However, when introduced in the United States in the late 1960s, the items in the line lacked a copyright notice. Under the law in effect at the time, that meant loss of copyright.
Our lawyers succeeded in establishing that Van Cleef was entitled to a restoration of the copyright under the little known Uruguay Rounds Agreement Act, which restored foreign copyrights in such situations. This required a detailed showing of the history of creation and publication of the work in the U.S. and abroad. Working with foreign counsel, our lawyers were able to make a compelling showing, and obtained a summary judgment ruling that Van Cleef owned a valid and subsisting copyright in the design.