Warhol Peels Banana Case, Files Countersuit

     MANHATTAN (CN) – The Andy Warhol Foundation asked a federal judge to invalidate a lawsuit filed by the Velvet Underground that is already on the ropes.
     Lou Reed and John Cale’s experimental rock band sued earlier this year to put the banana album cover of its album “The Velvet Underground and Nico” in the public domain.
     Andy Warhol agreed to design the front cover of the 1967 album with a banana, a stylized signature, and a suggestive tagline “Peel slowly and see.”
     Despite slow initial sales, Rolling Stone named it 13th “Greatest Album of All Time” in 2003.
     On April 8, 2011, The New York Times reported that the Andy Warhol Foundation claimed ownership of the image in negotiations involving smartphones and accessories.
     After the Velvet Underground filed suit, the foundation unconditionally agreed not to sue the band for copyright violations over the banana design.
     Finding that this promise “eliminated any live controversy,” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan dismissed the band’s declaratory judgment claim on Sept. 7.
     Days later, the foundation filed counterclaims alleging trademark violations, instead of the copyright claims they abandoned.
     The suit seeks punitive damages and a judgment that the foundation “enjoys priority of trademark use in the Warhol Banana Design.”
     The Andy Warhol Foundation is represented by Joshua Paul of the firm Collen IP.

%d bloggers like this: