• Dubai-based publisher sues online platforms PopSugar and Ebates for breach of contract and fraud.
    April 13, 2017
    Our client, Pop Middle East, Inc, a leading Dubai-based publisher in premier digital content and advertising in fashion and lifestyle, filed this week a $6 billion lawsuit against PopSugar, Inc., the former owner and operator of the online fashion marketplace ShopStyle and Ebates, Inc., a leader in online cash back shopping.

    In 2015, Pop Middle East and PopSugar entered into a licensing agreement, making our client the exclusive licensee for the ShopStyle website in the Middle East and North Africa regions.

    Unbeknownst to Pop Middle East at the time, the terms of the agreement undermined the value of the deal for our client. The agreement was focused on ShopStyle’s growth and revenue: our client could only profit under the agreement if ShopStyle exceed certain predetermined revenue hurdles. It turns out, however, that the information our client received from PopSugar concerning ShopStyle’s revenue and growth was false.

    As soon as our client became aware of the misleading and inaccurate financial statements it had received prior to entering the agreement, our client made good faith attempts to renegotiate the terms of the agreement. PopSugar, however, refused to collaborate.

    After nearly a year of such unsuccessful attempts, PopSugar unilaterally terminated the licensing agreement with our client, without cause or reason of any kind. This termination followed the public disclosure of ShopStyle’s acquisition by Ebates this February.

    The complaint, filed in San Francisco, explains how PopSugar not only fraudulently induced our client into signing the agreement but also failed to meet its obligations therein – e.g. failed to develop and launch the ShopStyle website in Arabic as required to under the agreement.

    With this complaint, our client intends to hold Popsugar accountable for its fraudulent behavior and rightfully vindicate its rights under the agreement, which has not only caused our client to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, but also potentially cost it millions of dollars in lost profits.

  • Court Ruling on Celebrity Photos Raises New Copyright Risk for Websites
    April 10, 2017
    According to Ed Klaris, a long-time intellectual property lawyer in New York, the opinion is hardly a death knell for those relying on DMCA protections, but certainly a warning not to get too involved in posting others’ content: “Images could not be posted without human moderators’ intervention, raising the question whether the defendant was in effect an accomplice to the infringement. These facts forced a trial, which will cause websites to pay close attention. Until now, courts have given broad leeway to filter and curate content without losing immunity.”
  • As Dubai’s Skyline Adds a Trophy, the Architect Calls It Stolen
    The New York Times
    March 8, 2017
    The Dubai municipality has “taken the Dubai Frame as its own without paying or crediting the person who created it,” said Edward Klaris, a New York-based lawyer representing the architect. “This is an egregious infringement of international copyright and a sad case of sovereign bullying that deserves to be corrected.”
  • ‘Inventor of Email’ Slaps Tech Site With $15M Libel Suit for Mocking His Claim
    January 5, 2017
  • Architect of the Dubai Frame sues Dubai Municipality and elevator manufacturing company for stealing its copyrighted building design.
    December 22, 2016
    Our client, internationally renowned architect Fernando Donis, has filed a lawsuit against the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrup AG, an elevator manufacturing company, for appropriating and building the Dubai Frame.

    In 2008, our client participated in an international design competition in Dubai, sponsored by ThysenKrupp AG, to design a new emblematic structure for Za-abeel Park in the Center of Dubai to “promote the new face of Dubai”.

    The competition regulations, modeled on the UNESCO guidelines for international architecture competitions, made clear that the designers would maintain all copyrights in their works. No design, whether Prize-winning or not, could be used without the architect’s consent.

    In 2009, Donis and his Dubai Frame project won the competition, defeating 925 other entries from other internationally acclaimed architects. Immediately, the Dubai Municipality attempted to push our client away from building the Dubai Frame. It suggested agreements that would give our client essentially non-existing rights relating to his own design and strung our client along until construction began in 2014.

    Donis never signed any agreement, nor granted the Dubai Municipality permission to build the Dubai Frame. The Dubai Municipality nevertheless proceeded to build the Dubai Frame, despite knowing Donis owned the copyright to the Dubai Frame, as established by documentary evidence.

    Having sent cease-and-desist letters and exhausted all avenues of communication with the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp AG, our client filed this copyright infringement suit.

    The Dubai Municipality, which holds itself out as a leader in attracting international talent in the UAE, copied our client’s design and built it without his permission. Our client hopes that this claim will vindicate his rights, rectify the Dubai Municipality’s deliberate infringement of international copyright and draw the world’s attention to this blatant example of sovereign bullying.

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