Artist James Concannon claims in lawsuit that toy company made a ‘blatant copy’ of a jacket he made for Queer Eye cast member Antoni Porowski
An artist has accused Lego of recreating a leather jacket he made for Queer Eye cast-member Antoni Porowski without the artist’s permission, claiming that a toy jacket included in a Lego set based on the Netflix show is a “blatant copy” of his design.
James Concannon, whose clothes have been regularly worn by Porowski on the popular program, filed a lawsuit against the Danish toy giant in a Connecticut district court last month. The designer, who is seeking damages, alleges that one of the outfits included in the set for Porowski’s figurine copies “the unique placement, coordination, and arrangement of the individual artistic elements” on the jacket.
In the lawsuit, Concannon alleges that Netflix had consistently asked him for his consent to show his clothes in Queer Eye episodes since 2017, which he gave. Porowski and Concannon later became friends, with Porowski sending Concannon the jacket to create a custom design for him in 2018.
The following year, Porowski wore the jacket in an episode in the show’s fourth season. Concannon alleges that Netflix never sought his permission to feature the jacket on the show, but believed it was an oversight.
The lawsuit states that Concannon contacted Lego after seeing the toy jacket in the set, which went on sale last year. He claims that a customer service representative offered him the set, which is based on the show’s loft and retails at US$99.99, for his six-year-old son as a form of compensation.
However, another company representative later told him that the company did not give away its products for free.
Concannon alleges that when his attorney contacted the company, Lego’s lawyers admitted that it had intentionally copied his design but rejected his attempt to send a cease-and-desist, arguing that Concannon’s decision to give the jacket to Porowski meant that Netflix had an “implied license” to do what it wanted with the design, including allowing Lego to recreate it.
Guardian Australia has contacted Lego for comment.