BOCA RATON, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2020) – One of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s most popular shows has a legal problem: It contains unauthorized knockoffs of copyrighted works by renowned British artist Bruce Munro. The garden has been sued for producing the “NightGarden” show without the award-winning artist’s permission.

In a lawsuit filed Jan. 8 in federal court in Miami, Munro charges that Fairchild, its chief operating officer Nanette M. Zapata, two California companies, and a Chinese lighting manufacturer and retailer have infringed on his copyrighted works and violated the copyright management information provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“Photos of Mr. Munro’s exhibits and those at Fairchild Garden show such a striking similarity that it would be impossible to think of the latter as anything but copies,” says Carl Schwenker, principal at the Law Offices of Carl F. Schwenker, which represents Munro.

“The Chinese company created the knockoffs, put them up for sale on Alibaba, and the American defendants put on a show using them,” says Joel Rothman, a partner at SRipLAW, which is co-counsel to Munro.

Munro has received many recognitions including 2011 Artist of the Year Award from the Wiltshire Life Magazine and the 2013 American Alliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Award. He has created and displayed his work at venues such as Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the United Kingdom’s Salisbury Cathedral, Houston’s Discovery Green Park, and Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens. The Longwood exhibition in 2012 drew over 300,000 people.

Munro’s stunning, 58,000-stem “Field of Light” installation in central California just resulted in the New York Times naming Paso Robles sixth in its list of the top worldwide “places to go in 2020”. He continues to produce exhibits and create commissioned works for private collectors and investors.

The Chinese company, Zhongshan G-Lights Lighting Co., copied several of his most popular works, such as “Forest of Light” and “Field of Light,” according the lawsuit. The company took photos of Munro’s work from his website and stripped out or changed information about the digital images in violation of DCMA. The company and two California firms imported the knockoffs into the United States and with Fairchild Garden put them on display.

“None of this was done with Munro’s knowledge or input,” Schwenker says. Adds Rothman, “What’s remarkable is that Fairchild Garden, which advertises itself online as one of the ‘premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world,’ would have anything to do with this.”

ABOUT SRIPLAW

SRipLaw is an intellectual property law firm in Boca Raton, Florida, that files patents, trademarks and copyrights. It brings and defends infringement litigation in state and federal courts. It has five attorneys in three offices including Los Angeles and New York, and works with patent attorneys worldwide. For information, visit www.sriplaw.com.

ABOUT CFS LAW

The Law Offices of Carl F. Schwenker is a boutique Austin, Texas firm with a diversified practice centered on litigation and business matters involving technology, intellectual property, entertainment and privacy.  It counsels and represents businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals and its attorneys have spearheaded and been appointed class counsel in national federal privacy class actions involving emergent technologies.

About 

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

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