Recently, in a Dutch court, a preliminary dispute between Vitra and Kwantum Vitra had put a lien and sequestration order on DSW look alike chairs brought on the Dutch and Belgian market by Kwantum under the name Paris. The court, in a preliminary court order, ordered in favor of Vitra. The lien was not lifted until the principal court case in this matter would be settled. The following excerpt demonstrates how Vitra got part of its rights from Eames.
Lucia Eames is the daughter of Charles Eames and the stepdaughter of Ray Eames. She is the Executrix of the Estate of Ray Eames, the trustee of the Ray Eames Revocable Trust, and heiress of both Charles and Ray Eames.
Charles and Ray Eames designed furniture exclusively for Herman Miller, Inc., of Zeeland, Michigan, U.S.A. The parties believe that it was the understanding of Charles and Ray Eames and Herman Miller, Inc. that Herman Miller Inc. owned certain rights in the designs of the following products, to the extent that their designs were protected by the laws of the countries in which they were marketed: (i) 1951 Wire Chair, (ii) 1954 Soft Compact, (iii) Lounge Chair and Ottoman from 1955/1956, (iv) Aluminum Group from 1958/1959, (v) 1969 Soft Pad Group, (vi) 1969 La Chaise, (vii) 1984 Teak and Leather Sofa, (viii) 1962 Chicago O’Hare Tandem Sling Seating, (ix) 1964 Segmented Base Table, and (x) Executive Chair/Time Life Chair from 1960 (collectively, the “HM Products”)
It is further the understanding of the Parties that Herman Miller, Inc. transferred as of May 31, 1984, all of its ownership in the HM Products for Europe and the Middle East to Vitra Collections AG, Basel.
It is further the understanding of the parties that to the extent any of the design rights in the HM Products, including copyrights, were never owned by Herman Miller, Lucia Eames transferred any remaining copyrights to Vitra Collections AG, Basel, pursuant to that certain Declaration dated February 14, 1992.
The parties note that adverse parties have challenged their understanding regarding the ownership of the HM Products as set forth above. To eliminate any future doubt and challenges, the Parties wish to reconfirm Vitra’s ownership of rights by now transferring all rights to the HM Product – if any – that have not been effectively transferred previously to Vitra.
The parties desire to convey similar rights as transferred pursuant to Clause 1.5 in additional products as more particularly set forth on Annex 11 (which includes the HM Products) (collectively, the “Products”).
Transfer of ownership of rights.
For valuable consideration, receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, Lucia Eames and Vitra agree that Lucia Eames assigns and transfers to Vitra the entire rights, titles and interests in and to the copyright and any other intellectual property right or legal protected positions under any laws of unfair competition which exist according to the national, supranational and/or international laws in and regarding the Products (the ‘Work”) and in and to all products based upon, derived from, or incorporating the Work, and in and to the exclusive rights to the tr
ademarks EAMES and EAMES COLLECTION for the Products and in and to all causes of action, either in law or in equity for past, present, or future infringement based on the copyrights and other intellectual property rights and legal protected positions under any laws of unfair competition, and in and to all rights corresponding to the foregoing for the territory defined in Annex I. As far as La Chaise is concerned, this transfer of ownership of rights is worldwide and not restricted to the territory defined in Annex I.
This transfer and assignment shall take effect retroactively as of February 19, 1992.
lf the retroactive effect of this Agreement is found to be null or unenforceable, this Agreement will be construed as to take effect from the earliest date possible after February 19, 1992. In any event, this Agreement will take effect from the date it has been signed by both parties.
Applicable Law and Dispute Resolution
This Agreement is exclusively governed by Swiss Law.
Source court order: Boek 9 (in Dutch pdf format)
Source images: Nest Co Blog