Originally published in Interiors & Sources

07/22/2008

Alphaville Sues Knoll Over Mies van der Rohe Furniture Designs

 

SAN FRANCISCO /PRNewswire/ - Alphaville Design of Fremont, CA, filed a declaratory relief lawsuit against Knoll Inc. in San Francisco to determine that Knoll has no exclusive rights in the furniture designs known as "Barcelona." Alphaville Design's lawsuit seeks to overturn Knoll's trade dress claims that it has exclusive rights to the 1920s Mies van der Rohe Barcelona furniture designs.

Last July, Knoll sued Danrick LLC, dba ModernCollections.com, and Alphaville in New York in response to Alphaville's declaratory rights suit. In January, the New York court dismissed Knoll's lawsuit, allowing Alphaville Design's California case to take precedence.

Alphaville Design's president, David Lee, notes, "We are delighted that the New York courts dismissed Knoll's lawsuit against one of my customers after we joined in their defense. Our case will clarify the law and show that Knoll cannot keep others from using these 1920s designs that have been made by a myriad of manufacturers for over 40 years. We seek a full cancellation of Knoll's trademark registrations with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office."

Knoll Inc., a Delaware corporation headquartered in Pennsylvania, is publicly traded company with a market cap of $600 million. Alphaville Design Inc., a Delaware corporation headquartered in California, is a closely-held corporation. Alphaville Design is represented by Philip Green of Green and Green and Neil Smith of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in San Francisco. Philip Green states that "Mies van der Rohe had early patents in other countries, but these designs are long in the public domain and are not protectable forever as trade dress. The literature notes that Van der Rohe had no rights remaining in the designs."

Knoll is a designer and manufacturer of office furniture products and textiles. Alphaville Design is an importer and seller of office and residential furniture. Danrick is an online retailer of furniture.

If you would like more information about this topic, contact Phil Green at (415) 457-8300 ext. 11 or phil@greenandgreen.com.

Source: Alphaville Design

 

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