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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Claims Yoko Ono Swiped Designs

BROOKLYN (CN) - A Brooklyn-based fashion designer claims in court that Yoko Ono and a retailer "stole" her "cutting edge" clothing designs and "pawned them off as their own."

Haleh Nematzadeh and Smashing Starlets LLC sued Ono and opening Ceremony LLC in Federal Court.

"This case is about a Yoko Ono [sic] and multimillion-dollar fashion company who together stole the designs of an up and coming designed and pawned them off as their own," the complaint states. "It involves the thefts by the defendants of the plaintiff's unique and cutting edge clothing designs. The defendants willfully and intentionally copied all of the plaintiff's designs and presented them as their own collection issued by the defendants. Defendants' tortious and illegal conduct allowed them to reap millions of dollars in sales, good will, and publicity."

Nematzadeh claims she copyrighted her clothing collection under the title "Gonna Walk the Night."

She says in the complaint that she "was introduced to photographers working for OC [Opening Ceremony] to do a photo shoot of the collection in July 2012 ... so that it may be featured for sale in OC's catalog and stores worldwide."

Nematzadeh claims she "agreed to show the sketches and pictures of the collection to OC's photographers."

However, she says, "After the OC photographers saw plaintiff's sketches and pictures, they canceled the photo shoot."

She says she had another photographer shoot the collection, which she "published."

The 14-page complaint does not state how it was published, nor where or when. She says hers was a collection of women's clothing.

"Soon after the plaintiff launched the collection, within which her designs were published, the defendants published an identical collection ('Offending Collection')," the complaint states. "The offending collection copied exact designs as well as imitated the designs and concepts from plaintiff's collection."

The complaint adds: "In order to conceal their thievery of plaintiff's collection, defendants renamed the collection and called it a collection for men.

"Despite defendants' feeble attempt at disguising the unlawful use of plaintiff's collection, it is clear that defendants copied plaintiff's design.

"One piece of the collection, for example, is a bra like design.

"Defendants copied this design and used a male model to model it.

"The ridiculousness of this farce stands on its face."

Nematzadeh claims that Ono acknowledge this "this was the first time Ono has ever designed clothing for men."

Citing an Opening Ceremony Internet posting, Nematzadeh claims that Ono said she was "inspired to create 'Fashion for Men,' [because I was] amazed at how my man was looking so great. I felt it was a pity if we could not make clothes emphasizing his very sexy bod.' This season, 48 years after John and Ono's wedding, Ono and Opening Ceremony have worked together to bring her sketches to life!" (Brackets in complaint, which does not state whether the brackets were in the Internet posting.)

Nematzadeh claims Ono and Opening Ceremony got the designs from her photo shoot with OC. She claims the photo shoot "was nothing more than a ruse to gain access to plaintiff's confidential and propriety [sic] designs and sketches."

The complaint does not state explicitly whether OC photographers actually photographed her sketches, only that they gained access to them.

Nematzadeh claims that Ono, in a "sham" photo shoot, "even posed for pictures showing her sketching the designs."

Nematzadeh seeks $10 million for copyright infringement, disgorgement of unjust profits, and delivery or destruction of the offending products.

She is represented by Aymen Aboushi.

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