KAWS Is Suing Homeless Penthouse for Allegedly Selling Fake Works

The artist is looking to receive $10 million in punitive damages.

KAWS at the 2019 TriBeCa Ball at New York Academy of Art. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

During a week in which the “KAWS:HOLIDAY” tour has already been enmeshed in legal trouble, the artist is also taking the step to file a lawsuit against several different websites that KAWS says are selling counterfeit versions of his work. KAWS filed the lawsuit today in the Southern District Court of New York, and it alleges that entities including the online marketplace Homeless Penthouse, The Penthouse Theory, Penthouse Collective and OSell DinoDirect China Limited are all connected in some way to the distribution of items attributed to KAWS that are actually fraudulent. These items evidently include sculptures and other smaller items that have been labeled as having been made by KAWS.

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KAWS, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, is having his legal representatives obtain an injunction against Homeless Penthouse. In the lawsuit itself, KAWS is alleging that the sale of these items which he claims were not made by him add up to trademark and copyright infringement. KAWS is also alleging that trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, and copyright infringement are taking place. He is seeking a total of $10 million in punitive damages.

“These obfuscating, tongue-in-cheek statements are feeble attempts to escape the obvious: the purported KAWS items for sale on the Homeless Penthouse Websites are deliberate fakes,” the lawsuit states in part. In a statement of his own, KAWS said that he was moving forward with pursuing legal actionto finally end years of unlawful counterfeiting infringement, enrichment on the sale, and promotion of counterfeit KAWS product. The defendants’ unlawful counterfeiting campaign uses multiple entities and calculated schemes to confuse and deceive KAWS collectors around the world.” 

KAWS is also currently carting one of his largest inflatable artworks around the globe as part of a world tour.

KAWS Is Suing Homeless Penthouse for Allegedly Selling Fake Works