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Museum Boutique Intercontinental, Ltd. v. Picasso
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
886 F. Supp. 1155 (1995)
Following the death of Pablo Picasso, the reproduction rights of his work were jointly held by his heirs (defendants), including two of his children, Claude Picasso (defendant) and Paloma Picasso (defendant) (collectively, the Picasso heirs). Claude was appointed the administrator. The Picasso heirs granted the Societe de la Propriete Artistique et des Dessins et Modeles (SPADEM) (defendant) the right to manage reproductions of Picasso’s work, among other rights. Museum Boutique Intercontinental, Ltd. (MBI) (plaintiff) obtained an exclusive license to reproduce some of Picasso’s works and create derivative works of them, but over the next 10 years MBI was in litigation with SPADEM and the Picasso heirs over those rights. During that time, MBI entered into license agreements with two companies, Nayoya Mitsukoshi Ltd. (Mitsukoshi) and INFAS Co., Ltd., to sell Picasso reproductions and derivative works. MBI claimed that Paloma, Claude, and SPADEM told Mitsukoshi and INFAS that MBI did not have the right to license or sell reproductions of Picasso’s works. MBI claimed that Paloma’s statements made performance of the contracts with Mitsukoshi and INFAS more difficult and lessened the parties’ enjoyment of the contracts. MBI had to provide near-constant reassurances, and Mitsukoshi had to fly $2 million of prototypes to New York for a product review. MBI claimed that as a result of Claude’s, Paloma’s, and SPADEM’s statements to Mitsukoshi and INFAS, MBI had to terminate its contracts with Mitsukoshi and INFAS. MBI filed suit against the Picasso heirs and SPADEM alleging a number of claims. Against Paloma individually, MBI asserted a claim for tortious interference with contract under New York law. Paloma filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim against her individually.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Scheindlin, J.)
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