Copyright Infringement

Queer Eye Designer Sues Lego for Copyright Infringement

A toy figurine is causing some legal trouble for Danish toy maker Lego. The company released their “Queer Eye” collectible toy set last year, which depicts the Atlanta loft that was featured in Netflix’s hit TV show. However, in doing so, they have run afoul of James Concannon, a fashion designer who frequently designs clothes for Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski. In his lawsuit, Concannon claims that in 2018, he created a custom leather jacket that included signature motifs, and that Lego blatantly copied the jacket for their toy figurine, without his permission.

Several of Concannon’s designs have appeared in the Queer Eye program since 2017.

According to the New York-based designer, Netflix had previously received permission to use his designs, but they didn’t ask permission to use the leather jacket on the show’s 2019 episode. He presumed this was merely an oversight and didn’t pursue it—until the toy set (“Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft”) was released in September 2021.

Comparing the original leather jacket and miniature side by side shows several similarities, such as a skull design on the right chest and a peace sign on the left lapel. The designer claims that the toy company did not seek authorization to use the unique placement and arrangement of artistic elements from his original work for their figurine jacket and that he was not compensated.

Based on the lawsuit, Lego used the Concannon jacket in their aggressive marketing campaign for the Fab 5 Loft set and developed animations featuring the jacket. He maintains that he designed the leather jacket in 2018 and is seeking monetary damages for what he refers to as ‘willful infringement.’

Adding insult to injury, the lawsuit adds that allegedly, he was offered a free Fab 5 Loft set for his son to play with by a Lego customer service rep, but that the offer was later revoked.

For years, Lego has produced branded movie and TV toy sets that target adult collectors. Their more popular offerings include figurine sets from “Star Wars,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Harry Potter” and “Home Alone.”

[CNN – January 17, 2022 – Toyin Owoseje]

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