This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 04/28/2022 at 07:33:15 (UTC).

McKenzie v. Artists Rights Society, Inc. et al

Case Summary

On February 27, 2022, Michael McKenzie d/b/a American Image Art (“American Image” or “Plaintiff”), represented by Bridget A. Zerner and John J. E. Markham, II of Markham Read Zerner LLC, filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Artists Rights Society, Inc. (“ARS”) and Janet Hicks (“Hicks”) (collectively, “Defendants”), seeking injunctive relief and damages for alleged violations of the Lanham Act and RICO statute. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, with Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil presiding.

 In the complaint, the plaintiff alleged, “American Image created and with Indiana thereafter produced and marketed for many years an Image called HOPE. It was in competition with another Indiana image called LOVE which was marketed by another purported art producer, Morgan Art Foundation Limited, with the assistance of Defendants herein, Artist Rights Society, Inc. (‘ARS’) and Janet Hicks, ARS’s senior vice president in charge of licensing and marketing. Defendants have for years marketed LOVE, which they licensed for use by hundreds of manufactures, vendors and retailers who have used the LOVE image on products they produced and sold such as paintings, sculptures, prints, t-shirts, pencil sharpeners, glassware, and other goods.”

Plaintiff then alleged, “Neither American Image’s HOPE image, nor the LOVE image, have ever been copyrighted. Yet, the Defendants have combined together and with the other Participants named herein for at least two decades to fraudulently represent that they, and others acting in concert with them, had and still have a copyright on the LOVE image; and they have been fraudulently licensing their falsely-claimed copyright to the LOVE image, charging many hundreds of licensees many hundreds of thousands of dollars for use of their falsely claimed copyright and collecting millions of dollars paid by the licensees to use the supposed LOVE copyright.”

The plaintiff further alleged, “This repeated false marketing has injured and continues to injure American Image in its marketing of the HOPE image because, by falsely claiming that the LOVE image was copyrighted, Defendants and other Participants named herein gave the LOVE image what was perceived to be an added value over the HOPE image. Would-be purchasers believed, incorrectly, that the LOVE image was copyright protected so that if a purchaser wanted to use that image on its product and had acquired a license from Defendants to so do, that image on that product was protected from imitation by another competitor selling the same product. American Image, in its marketing of the competing HOPE image, did not claim that HOPE was copyrighted and thus HOPE did not have the same appeal to those who would license that image for use on their products.”

Plaintiff presented two claims for relief, including alleged violations of the Lanham Act and RICO statute.

In the prayer for relief, the plaintiff requested an award of treble damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and a permanent injunction prohibiting Defendants from representing to anyone anywhere that any of the defendants or Participants have ownership rights to a copyright of the LOVE image or of any other Indiana image. 

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    1:22-CV-01619

  • Filing Date:

    02/27/2022

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Intellectual Property - Copyright

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

Mary Kay Vyskocil

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

Michael McKenzie individually doing business as American Image Art, an unincorporated dba

Defendants

Artists Rights Society, Inc.

Janet Hicks

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

Bridget A. Zerner

Attorney at Markham Read Zerner LLC

One Commercial Wharf West

Boston, MA 02110

John J. E. Markham, II

Attorney at Markham Read Zerner LLC

One Commercial Wharf West

Boston, MA 02110

 

Court Documents

#1

(#1) COMPLAINT against Artists Rights Society, Inc., Janet Hicks. (Filing Fee $ 402.00, Receipt Number ANYSDC-25785958)Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

#2

(#2) FILING ERROR - DEFICIENT PLEADING - PDF ERROR - CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Markham, John) Modified on 2/28/2022 (pc). (Entered: 02/27/2022)

#3

(#3) STATEMENT OF RELATEDNESS re: that this action be filed as related to 1:18-cv-04438-AT-BCM. Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

#4

(#4) REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS as to Artists Rights Society, Inc., re: #1 Complaint. Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

#5

(#5) REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS as to Janet Hicks, re: #1 Complaint. Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

#6

(#6) NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Bridget A. Zerner on behalf of Michael McKenzie..(Zerner, Bridget) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

#7

(#7) CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

#8

(#8) ELECTRONIC SUMMONS ISSUED as to Janet Hicks..(pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

#9

(#9) ELECTRONIC SUMMONS ISSUED as to Artists Rights Society, Inc...(pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/28/2022
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  • Docket(#9) ELECTRONIC SUMMONS ISSUED as to Artists Rights Society, Inc...(pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
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  • Docket(#8) ELECTRONIC SUMMONS ISSUED as to Janet Hicks..(pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • DocketMagistrate Judge Sarah Netburn is so designated. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 73(b)(1) parties are notified that they may consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge. Parties who wish to consent may access the necessary form at the following link: #https://nysd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/AO-3.pdf. (wb) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT to Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil. Judge Unassigned is no longer assigned to the case..(wb) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • DocketCASE DECLINED AS NOT RELATED. Case referred as related to 18cv4438 and declined by Judge Analisa Torres and returned to wheel for assignment. (wb) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
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  • Docket(#7) CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • DocketCASE REFERRED TO Judge Analisa Torres as possibly related to 18cv4438. (pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • DocketCase Designated ECF. (pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • DocketCASE OPENING INITIAL ASSIGNMENT NOTICE: The above-entitled action is assigned to Judge Unassigned. .(pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • Docket***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING CIVIL. CASE OPENING STATISTICAL ERROR CORRECTION: Notice to attorney John J. E. Markham, II. The following case opening statistical information was erroneously selected/entered: Cause of Action code blank; Dollar Demand $10,000,000,000; County code Westchester;. The following correction(s) have been made to your case entry: the Cause of Action code has been modified to 15:1125; the Dollar Demand has been modified to $9,999,000; the County code has been modified to XX Out of State;. (pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
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  • Docket***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING DEFICIENT CIVIL COVER SHEET. Notice to attorney John J. E. Markham, II to RE-FILE Document No. #2 Civil Cover Sheet. The filing is deficient for the following reason(s): second page is missing;. Re-file the document using the event type Civil Cover Sheet found under the event list Other Documents and attach the correct PDF. Use civil cover sheet issued by S.D.N.Y. dated October 1, 2020. The S.D.N.Y. Civil Cover Sheet dated October 1, 2020 is located at#http://nysd.uscourts.gov/file/forms/civil-cover-sheet.. (pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
  • Docket***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING PARTY MODIFICATION. Notice to attorney John J. E. Markham, II. The party information for the following party/parties has been modified: Michael McKenzie. The information for the party/parties has been modified for the following reason/reasons: party text was omitted; alias party name was omitted;. (pc) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/28/2022
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  • Docket(#6) NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Bridget A. Zerner on behalf of Michael McKenzie..(Zerner, Bridget) (Entered: 02/28/2022)

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  • 02/27/2022
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  • Docket(#5) REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS as to Janet Hicks, re: #1 Complaint. Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

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  • 02/27/2022
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  • Docket(#4) REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS as to Artists Rights Society, Inc., re: #1 Complaint. Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

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  • 02/27/2022
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  • Docket(#3) STATEMENT OF RELATEDNESS re: that this action be filed as related to 1:18-cv-04438-AT-BCM. Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

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  • 02/27/2022
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  • Docket(#2) FILING ERROR - DEFICIENT PLEADING - PDF ERROR - CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Markham, John) Modified on 2/28/2022 (pc). (Entered: 02/27/2022)

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  • 02/27/2022
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  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT against Artists Rights Society, Inc., Janet Hicks. (Filing Fee $ 402.00, Receipt Number ANYSDC-25785958)Document filed by Michael McKenzie..(Markham, John) (Entered: 02/27/2022)

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