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Christopher J. Robinson

Chris Robinson practices intellectual property and art law, as well as general commercial litigation. A former art dealer, he has an intimate knowledge of the art world. He has extensive experience in copyright and gray-market goods litigation and his practice includes trademark and unfair competition, false advertising, and patent appellate work. Chris also practices before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and its Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and the National Advertising Division, and represents clients in arbitrations before the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Chris' clients include: Phillips Auctioneers LLC; Artnet; Auctionata, Inc.; Winston Art Group; Tel Aviv Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Getty Images; Ford Foundation; Citigroup; Random House; Conde Nast Publications; the Private Art Dealers Association, and the New Art Dealers Alliance.

Representative Experience

Defense of artist under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA)

Successfully assisted artist Luke Gray in a claim over the destruction of a mural painted on the ceiling of a lobby in an office building in midtown Manhattan under VARA. After an investigation by the building owners, the parties agreed to a settlement without admission of fault. (2015)

Art transactions counsel for various New York based galleries and private art dealers

Advise art dealers regarding purchase and sale of artwork. (Ongoing)

Gray v. Koons et al.

Successful settlement by co-defendant Phillips Auctioneers LLC in copyright infringement dispute regarding sale of Jeff Koons work. (S.D.N.Y. 2016)

Representation of artist’s estate

Representing the estate of a well-known South American artist in establishment of foundation to manage assets and further artist’s reputation. (Ongoing)

Old Master Art Dealer

Defending Old Master Art Dealer in suit alleging breach of contract in sale of paintings. (Ongoing)

Richey v. Giarla

Representing an artist in a suit to recover proceeds from consignment and sale of art work. (Ongoing)

Positive Workforce Coalition, Inc.

Successful defense of board of not-for-profit organization for minority construction workers against suit by former president. Defeated applications for preliminary and permanent injunctions and obtained favorable dismissal of suit. (2015)

Public art design and development agreement

Represented major New York developer in the successful contract negotiation with Heatherwick Studios for the design of a major, large-scale public artwork for Hudson Yards, a $15 billion commercial and residential development on the West Side of Manhattan. (2014)

CarFreshner v. Getty Images

Defended Getty Images in a trade dress infringement action alleging photographic images in the company's database depicting plaintiff's tree-shaped car freshener products constituted infringement of its product configuration trademark. After Court granted Getty Images’ motion to dismiss, in part, successfully resolved the matter without any finding of liability. (N.D.N.Y. 2012)

Counsel for the Private Art Dealers Association (PADA) and New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA)

Serve as general counsel to clients, a lobbying and trade organization for private art dealers and an international association of young dealers in contemporary art. (Ongoing)

Art sales advice for Amazon

Advise Amazon with respect to its online art sales business. (Ongoing)

Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc.

Lead counsel representing Electronic Arts in defense of a putative class action brought by Hart, a former college quarterback, on behalf of all college football players, arising out of the purported use of their likenesses in EA’s successful NCAA Football video game series. The Federal District Court in New Jersey granted EA’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action, finding that the video games were entitled to full First Amendment protection. See 2011 WL 4005350 (D.N.J. Sept. 9, 2011) reversed in split decision before the 3rd Circuit. Related actions arising out of Electronic Arts’ "NCAA Football and Madden Football" video games in the 9th Circuit. See 717 F.3d 141 (3d Cir. May 21, 2013)

Phillips Auctioneers LLC

Providing advice to U.S. online auction house on various legal matters. (Ongoing)

Auctionata, Inc.

Providing advice to U.S. online auction house on various legal matters. (Ongoing)

Outside counsel for Artnet Worldwide Corp. online auctions

Provides intellectual property and website advice to this online auction house on all legal matters. (Ongoing)

Recrutor v. Australia & New Zealand Bank

Representing bank in lawsuit over executive recruitment services. (N.Y. Ongoing)

Ziff Davis LLC

Providing advice on compliance under sanctions regulations of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Representation in turnover proceeding for Citigroup Inc.

Representing bank as neutral stakeholder in turnover proceeding by judgment holders against Iran and Zimbabwe. (Ongoing)

Playtex Products

Represented baby bottle manufacturer before the NAD and NARB in successful challenge to competitor’s advertising (2010-2011)

Ed Darack v. Random House

Copyright infringement action; dispute over use of photograph on cover of book. (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Royalties dispute for Lex Records

Represented record company in dispute over calculation of royalties. (2010)

Scott v. Hachette Publishing

Represented Little, Brown and author Stephenie Meyer. Obtained pre-discovery dismissal of copyright claims arising out of author's last book in her famed "Twilight" series. Attorney fees awarded to defendants. (C.D. Cal. 2010) v. Henry Holt and Company

Successfully defended publisher and co-author of novel against claims of fraudulent inducement, conversion and tortious interference by plaintiff who alleged that novel plagiarized plaintiff's manuscript. Case was dismissed. 2010 WL 1932322 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)

Surf City Enterprises v. The Daily Orange, et al.

First Amendment defense for a student publication against allegations of defamation. Case settled. (Sup. Ct. Onondaga Cty. 2009) Read more

Lucasfilm Ltd. v. Ainsworth, et al.

Drafted expert opinion at the request of defendants on U.S. intellectual property issues with respect to a 2008 lawsuit in the United Kingdom High Court alleging infringement of copyrights and trademarks in costumes for the movie 'Star Wars.' (2008)

Walker v. Viacom International Inc., et al.

Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendants creator, animation studio, distributor, and licensor of franchised animated cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants and television series in copyright infringement case involving claims of stand-alone character protection and story line infringement. 2008 WL 2050964; N.D. Cal, May 13, 2008; 2010 WL 236758 (9th Cir. 2008)

Alper v. Dean Hamer and Random House, Inc.

Defended the author and publisher of the book 'The God Gene' in a copyright infringement action. Obtained dismissal of claim. (S.D.N.Y. 2007)

Landrau, et al. v. Solis-Betancourt, Advance Magazine Publishers, et al.

Obtained dismissal of novel copyright and trademark claims brought by architect arising out of feature in Architectural Digest. 554 F. Supp. 2d 114 (D.P.R. 2007) Read more

Mikhail Anikin v. Random House and Dan Brown

Defended copyright infringement case against Dan Brown and Random House in which a curator at the Hermitage and the author of a Russian work on Da Vinci claimed Brown copied his phrase 'Da Vinci Code' and his analysis of the Mona Lisa. 3:07-cv-00697 (D. Tenn. and Russian court 2007)

U.S. v. AREF and NY Civil Liberties Union

Amicus brief for publishers including New York Times, AP, Advance, etc., on disclosure of information improperly-sealed on national security grounds. (2007)

Shine v. David M. Childs and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Represented architectural firm that designed original Freedom Tower in action involving alleged copyright infringement of architectural design of Yale architecture student. Settled after motion to dismiss granted in part. 382 F. Supp. 2d 602 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)

Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. v. Abbeyvet Export Ltd.

One of several injunctions and extensive sanctions won in campaign in Southern District of New York against online sellers of grey-market pet medicines via the Internet. (2005)

Recovery of artwork for Michael Kovner

Successfully recovered paintings seized in the bankruptcy of the major New York gallery, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, LLC.

Professional & Community Activities

  • Art Law Committee, New York City Bar Association
  • Secretary, Trademark and Unfair Competition Committee, New York City Bar Association
  • General Counsel, Private Art Dealers Association (PADA)
  • General Counsel, New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA)
  • Trustee, Sharon Historical Society, Sharon, Conn.
Artist obtains compensation from city for destruction of her murals, read story