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Vancouver clothing retailer Aritzia entangled in copyright lawsuit

A U.S. toy creator says its hand-held fidgets have become sculptures for Vancouver-based Aritzia — an alleged violation of copyright law.
These twisty sculptures being used for Aritzia's 2023 spring marketing campaign are an alleged infringement of Tangle Inc. fidget toy designs. | Court filings

An American toy manufacturer is suing Vancouver-based fashion retailer Aritzia in a California court, alleging copyright infringement of its fidget designs.

San Francisco’s Tangle Inc. alleges Aritzia’s spring marketing blitz includes twisty sculptures that are based on its line of twisty, tangley hand toys. It's demanding up to $150,000 for the alleged infringement, plus additional compensation for damages, as a jury may see fit.

Aritzia’s shiny, multi-coloured snake-like sculptures twist around clothing displays at stores and appear in social media marketing campaigns, according to the claim.

“The striking similarities between the Infringing Sculptures and the TANGLE Sculptures indicate that Defendants committed their infringing acts deliberately, willfully, and maliciously, without regard to Plaintiff’s proprietary rights in the TANGLE Copyright Registrations,” states the amended claim, filed March 23 in the Northern District of California district court.

The claim was issued in California because Artizia conducts lots of business there, according to Tangle, although the alleged infringements span across Canada and the United States.

Aritzia has yet to respond to the claim, according to court filings but sent a statement to Glacier Media: "We are currently reviewing this matter and the facts of this case. These sculptures were created by Aritzia’s in-house designers who strive to create an Everyday Luxury, aspirational shopping environment for our clients. Boutique visual displays are seasonal in nature and have been taken down in the normal course."

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