Marfa’s Judd Foundation sues Kim Kardashian over allegedly fake Judd tables

The lawsuit accuses the reality TV star of falsely claiming in a YouTube video that tables at her skincare company’s office were designed by the late minimalist artist Donald Judd.

By Travis Bubenik, Marfa Public RadioApril 4, 2024 10:00 am, ,

From Marfa Public Radio:

An arts organization partly based in Marfa is suing Kim Kardashian for allegedly falsely claiming that wooden tables at the reality TV star’s skincare company office were authentic Donald Judd-designed furniture pieces.

The trademark infringement lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday stems from an August 2022 YouTube video in which Kardashian showed off the sleekly designed offices of her SKKN BY KIM company.

At one point in the video, which TMZ posted a clip of Wednesday, Kardashian walks over to what she calls “Donald Judd tables,” pointing out a pair of long, wooden tables that echo the distinctive design aesthetic of the late minimalist artist.

In a statement, the Judd Foundation said Wednesday it had brought the lawsuit in part because the video remained active on YouTube and had racked up more than 3.7 million views. The video was no longer viewable on YouTube as of Thursday morning.

The lawsuit also accuses the Los Angeles-based firm Clements Design of purposefully designing, building and promoting fake, plywood versions of Judd tables.

“Judd Foundation’s attempt to resolve this matter without litigation was met with delays and excuses from Ms. Kardashian and Clements Design,” the arts organization said in a statement, adding that Kardashian and the company’s actions undermine “Judd’s legacy and impairs the Foundation’s ability to control the quality and goodwill of his iconic designs.”

“We deny that Ms. Kardashian has any liability in this matter, as we have previously explained to the Judd Foundation and its counsel,” Michael Rhodes, an attorney representing the celebrity, said in a statement.

The design firm disputed the lawsuit’s claims in a statement to the New York Times,arguing there were “obvious key differences” in the furniture designs and that the Judd Foundation “was unwilling to settle on reasonable terms.”

Rainer Judd, the foundation’s president and the late artist’s daughter, said in a statement that the tables at the center of the case are “irrefutably fake.”

“The existence of inauthentic furniture undermines the integrity of his original work which includes specifications of design, craftsmanship, and materials,” she said.

In the lawsuit, the arts foundation claims that Clements Design “manufactured and sold knockoff versions” of two specific Judd designs to Kardashian: his “La Mansana Table 22” and “Chair 84” – iterations of which are located in one of the artist’s installation spaces in Marfa known as “the Arena.” The filing claims that the company used the foundation’s copyrighted photos of the actual furniture as part of its design proposal for the deal, “deceptively advertising that the works that would be provided to Ms. Kardashian were authorized.”

Unlike some of Judd’s other artwork – notably, his large-scale permanent concrete installations located in Marfa – furniture built according to his designs is readily available for sale. The Judd Foundation wrote in its lawsuit that the real La Mansana table retails for a baseline of $90,000, while the Chair 84 starts at $9,000.

The Judd Foundation is asking a judge to bar Kardashian from using Donald Judd’s name and trademark for any commercial purposes, to “correct her false statement” and even to “recycle the infringing Kardashian Tables and Chairs.”

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