A Swiss artist has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against General Motors, accusing the automaker of using one of his outdoor murals in a marketing campaign for the Cadillac XT5 crossover without his knowledge or consent.
Adrian Falkner, known by the pseudonym Smash 137, filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court in California. Falkner claims the automaker used his mural as a focal point in an XT5 campaign dubbed "The Art of the Drive" in an attempt to attract customers who seek "an association with urban cool."
"That the mural is the centerpiece of the campaign is obvious -- in that it is the only creative element dressing the car," the suit states.
To determine damages, Falkner seeks an accounting from the automaker of all the money produced from the campaign, the suit says.
The campaign was launched in November 2016 and included still photography advertisements, according to the suit, which were published on Cadillac's Instagram account, Facebook page and Twitter account.
Falkner claims GM intentionally concealed his signature by taking the photograph from an angle that made it not visible.
The "defendants' exploitation of plaintiff's work damages his reputation especially because he has carefully and selectively approached any association with corporate culture and mass-market consumerism," the suit states.
The mural, painted in 2014, was designed to showcase the artwork of a project called "Z Garage" in Detroit.
A Cadillac spokesperson declined to comment, citing a company policy against commenting on pending litigation. Falkner did not return a request for comment.