The article highlights potential legal pitfalls from depicting street art in automobile ad campaigns, which can trigger copyright claims from those who created the public art. Over the past decade, at least four automobile manufacturers have been entangled in copyright litigation arising from advertisements featuring street art. The article provides a synopsis of various claims and lawsuits involving Fiat, General Motors LLC, Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and Volkswagen Group of America Inc., all of which settled after following different procedural paths.

The author offers a roadmap for intellectual property practitioners seeking to assist their clients avoid such copyright claims, outlining several steps that practitioners should follow in assessing whether any legal challenges exist and would come to fruition should a proposed advertisement move forward.

A version of the article first appeared in Kattison Avenue/Katten Kattwalk | Issue 1.

Mitigating IP Infringement Risk in Car Ads Depicting Street Art

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