Santa Cruz settles infringement dispute


Santa Cruz Skateboards' father-and-son graphic-design team Jim and Jimbo Phillips, left, and fashion designer Jeremy Scott, right, settled out of court last week over copyright infringement.

Earlier this year when a New York Fashion Week catwalk featured imagery that looked strikingly similar to iconic Santa Cruz Skateboards graphics, social media lit up with skaters calling out fashion designer Jeremy Scott for poaching artwork from the brand's famed father-and-son illustrators, Jim and Jimbo Phillips.

The ensuing controversy -- which, contrary to recent reports, never spilled over into the justice system -- came to a close earlier last week as Santa Cruz's parent company, NHS, Inc., announced an out-of-court settlement with Scott.

"I regret that certain pieces of my February 2013 Fall Winter fashion line incorporated imagery that was similar to images owned by NHS and Messrs. Phillips," Scott said in a statement released by NHS. "I now recognize my mistake and out of respect to their work and their rights, the clothing and handbags at issue will not be produced or distributed."

The American fashion designer also agreed to destroy the infringing apparel, according to NHS's president and CEO, Bob Denike, who dispatched company representatives to witness the destruction of the clothing and handbags featuring Santa Cruz's "Psychotic Eyes" and former pro skater Rob Roskopp's monster graphics, among other popular skate illustrations from the 1980s.

"Anytime there's someone out there infringing on our artwork and logos, it dilutes the strength of our intellectual property," Denike told "This settlement is a statement for us that NHS protects its copyrights and trademarks. Our dealers, distributors and licensees can feel confident that we don't [mess] around. We protect what we have, and they know it has integrity and it's not getting watered down."

Denike had no comment about whether monetary compensation was part of the settlement.

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