Eames Office and Maharam have settled a lawsuit they filed last January against Swavelle/Mill Creek Fabrics and Easthill Hotel Corp. for copyright infringement and unfair competition arising from the use of the Dot Pattern in the Pod Hotel in New York. The hotel used several thousand yards of fabric featuring a copy of the pattern, which was originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames for a 1947 textile competition at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Eames Office holds the copyright and licenses Maharam to use the pattern in its fabrics.
Easthill purchased the fabric from Swavelle for use in the bedding at its new hotel; the design was also featured in marketing material, which is how Maharam first saw it. Annette Schaich, vice president of marketing at Maharam, says the fabric shown in an advertisement raised flags because the color wasn't one Maharam produces.
The Dot Pattern, shown here in two colors, has been licensed to Maharam, which uses it in contract textiles. A family-run business for four generations, Maharam has been producing textiles since 1902.
After investigating with Eames Office, the two companies brought the matter to the attention of Swavelle and Easthill. Maharam and Eames Office filed the complaint in federal court in Manhattan. The settlement's details were not released, but Easthill will remove all of the fabric and cease the use of the Dot Pattern in its print and online materials. Swavelle will not use the design in any of its products. Neither company admits or denies any liability.
The case is the highest profile infringement suit for Maharam, according to Schaich, with most previous cases being settled before production of the allegedly infringing product.