New York real estate firm CORE, founded by Shaun Osher of HGTV’s “Selling New York,” is being sued by a Brooklyn-based furniture designer who says the real estate mogul used digital recreations of his signature tables and chairs without permission to sell an apartment listed at $5.95 million.
- Click here to read a recap of the Jan 13 “Selling New York” episode featuring the recreations, or watch full episode at left.
According to the complaint from André Joyau of Heptagon Creations, the digital images were never authorized for use in CORE’s marketing materials to show the apartment, located at 245 Park Ave. South. Nine of Joyau’s pieces were recreated to help sell the property, according to the lawsuit filed last Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan.
Heptagon Creations is suing CORE and the architectural firm Pleskow Rael claiming copyright infringement, unfair competition and other complaints, reports TheRealDeal.com. The lawsuit seeks the $353,400 commission paid to Osher for the purchase of penthouse unit 15A, which sold Sept. 8, 2010 for $5.89 million (The “Selling New York” episode stated it sold for $5.85 million), as well as a halt to any further infringement of its designs, according to the website.
Events leading up to CORE’s use of renderings as a last ditch effort to sell the property was a major part of the Jan. 13 “Selling New York” episode. Heptagon’s lawsuit even quotes a CORE broker who said during the show, “The design presentation allowed us to show the potential of this property so my buyer, who was on the fence, sealed the deal.”
DC TV Examiner recapped this episode in January and spoke to veteran real estate agent Kymm Thornton of Coldwell Banker to provide context on the use of renderings as part of a marketing campaign.
“What usually happens is the property sells,” said Thornton, who deals with multimillion dollar listings throughout Southern California. “You’d rather have a stager come in and stage it – to give it a homey feel, or to lose the echo in the rooms so it won’t feel so empty. But when the owner doesn’t want to deal with moving in temporary furnishings, or if the house is odd shaped, it’s always good to do a rendering – especially if it’s a sizable house.”
“The architect/designers charge anywhere from $200 to $2000 for a rendering, depending on the number of rooms involved,” Thornton added.
According to TheRealDeal.com, Pleskow Rael approached Heptagon in August on behalf of CORE to request Joyau’s furniture as staging elements for 245 Park Ave. South — emphasizing it would be featured on national television. Heptagon said it would lend some pieces, but only if CORE also bought an insurance policy. CORE refused, so the furniture was never lent. Instead, CORE used digital images of Joyau’s pieces in its virtual sales presentation without permission, according to the complaint.