News. Court order to remove name of "Dalí museum" in Barcelona

Figueres, 22 June 2012

Court order handed down for removal of the name, images and works of Dalí from the Reial Cercle Artístic de Barcelona, known as the "Dalí museum" in this city.

In a decision dated 12 June 2012, the Commercial Court no. 3 of Barcelona ordered the company Faber Gòtic, S.L. (managed by Juan Javier Bofill) to remove from the Reial Cercle Artístic de Barcelona located beside Barcelona Cathedral the name Dalí, photos of the artist and works said to belong to the collection of sculptures he made for Isidro Clot (known as the “Clot Collection”). The court decision likewise imposed a penalty on Faber Gòtic for acts of unfair competition by having created the impression that the exhibition had the backing of Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, on which count Faber Gòtic was ordered to pay an indemnity.

After repeated attempts to negotiate with Juan Javier Bofill, curator of the exhibition and owner of Faber Gòtic, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, together with Demart Pro Arte B.V. (100% owned by the Dalí Foundation) and VEGAP (the collective arts-management company ‘Visual Entidad de Gestión de Artistas Plásticos’), brought a lawsuit to end the non-authorised operation being conducted at that exhibition of the trademark, intellectual property and image of Salvador Dalí, and to file a complaint that the exhibition and its concept and publicity might lead the general public to think that it was organised or backed by Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí.

Since before 2004, this gallery had been exhibiting a collection of works attributed to Salvador Dalí, which were presented as items from the “Clot Collection”. The exhibition was moreover presented under the name “DALÍ”, thus using the artist’s name and image without the authorisation from the Foundation that is a legal requirement. And works of his were reproduced and exhibited without the required licence from VEGAP, the entity to which the Foundation has entrusted collective management of copyright.

The decision achieved by the Dalí Foundation (represented by Albert Segura, Alfons Gili and Anna Viladàs, from the firm Roca Junyent) laid down that in contracts between Dalí and Isidro Clot the former did not authorise reproduction or public communication of the collection. The activity of the defendants therefore involved a breach of the artistic copyright managed by the Foundation. As regards trade marks, the decision declared that the exclusive rights of the Foundation to the name “DALÍ” had been infringed. The decision further declared that the defendants, by reproducing trade marks, works and the image of Dalí outside the exhibition, in its outdoor display windows, inside the gallery, on pennants, advertising leaflets, publicity posters, etc., created the appearance of a cultural and commercial centre revolving around the figure, work and personality of Dalí and related with the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, managed by the Foundation, thereby confusing customers to the point that they might even think that the Dalí Museum is the one in Plaça de la Catedral in Barcelona, or at least that it is a branch of the Figueres museum.

On the basis of those background facts, the Judge came down in favour of the Dalí Foundation, ordering the defendants to remove and destroy all media used for committing the breaches, to remove the name “DALÍ” from the title of the exhibition, and to likewise remove the name, works and image of the artist from any physical media (announcement posters, pennants, promotional materials), while also prohibiting them from operating any work by Salvador Dalí again in the future without being in possession of the compulsory authorisation from the Foundation or from Vegap. Finally, the decision declared that the defendants had committed acts of unfair competition. Those infringements led to them being ordered to pay an indemnity. The judge also ordered publication of the decision in a Spanish newspaper and on a Spanish radio station.

The Foundation declares itself satisfied with this outcome, since not only does it mean a further advance in defence and protection of the rights of Salvador Dalí, but is also important vis-à-vis other actors in the market who are improperly operating copyright, trademarks or image of Salvador Dalí.

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