February 05, 2014 3:02pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Film Academy Sues Over 'Counterfeit Replica' Oscar Statuettes
In its ongoing campaign to make sure the only way to get an Oscar statuette is to actually win one, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is suing a Texas man who allegedly sold replicas on eBay and Etsy.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday against Jaime De La Rosa.
AMPAS says it became aware of the existence of what it calls "counterfeit replica" statuettes in November when it found an eBay listing for an "Academy Award Hollywood Metal Movie Acting Trophy Prop Replica."
The price tag? $850.
Whether that's cheap or expensive is debatable, but the listing led AMPAS to search and find that De La Rosa had completed nine such sales.
That month, AMPAS says it contacted De La Rosa, explained its legal rights and demanded the defendant surrender all replicas in his possession. The following week, a package came with a statuette along with a promise to behave. In December, De La Rosa is said to have signed a declaration representing that he had only made seven statuettes, selling six and giving one to the Academy.
"That declaration was false," says AMPAS in its lawsuit.
The Academy identifies four additional statuettes on eBay and another sold on De La Rosa's Etsy shop.
The price tag for the Etsy replica? $5,000.
De La Rosa is now being taken to court over allegations of copyright and trademark infringement, false representation and trademark dilution. He'll be going up against a plaintiff that has filed dozens of intellectual property cases and fiercely protects its statuettes. Among the cases filed by AMPAS: a lawsuit against a chocolatier in North Hollywood who made chocolate Oscar figurines of a former Sony Pictures president; a lawsuit against a man claiming he was a three-time "Oscar winner" in sound design, who had paid a jeweler to create a fake Academy Award statue; and a lawsuit against a man who sold a long-missing Deer Hunter Oscar stauette on eBay.
Oscar winners are required to sign a contract giving the Academy a right to buy their award if they ever want to sell. AMPAS has sued over that too, targeting the heirs of Mary Pickford for selling her 1930 Oscar in a famous case.