Charles Saatchi Sues Online Platform Saatchi Art to Stop It From Using His Name

The platform's low transaction price could tarnish the Saatchi brand.

Charles Saatch. Photo credit ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images.

Charles Saatchi has launched a succession of legal actions in a UK court against e-commerce platform Saatchi Art, a wholly owned subsidiary of Demand Media, Skate’s reports. This week, the California-based Demand Media (which also owns the site Society6) published its first quarter earnings announcing a large increase in profits in tandem with the double legal action by the British advertising executive and Saatchi Art’s previous owner (Saatchi Art was sold to Demand Media in October 2014), who is looking to reclaim both the Saatchi name and profits gained from its usage (see Saatchi Art’s Mobile App Virtually Hangs Artworks in User’s Living Room).

Legal proceedings were initiated in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (United Kingdom) on November 5, 2014, against the current owners of Saatchi Online Inc. (“Saatchi Art”), asking the company to stop using the name Saatchi Art due to a breach of an Intellectual Property agreement dating from February 18, 2010. Due to the breach, Saatchi argues, the agreement between Charles Saatchi and Saatchi Art, has effectively been terminated.

As a result of this breach Saatchi is asking that they not only cease to use the name Saatchi Art but that they also pay out any profit they have made using the name Art Saatchi since the date of the alleged IP breach.

Demand Media refute this, and have filed an Application for Summary Judgment, or Strike Out of Claimant’s Claim.

It’s believed that Saatchi Art’s low average transaction price of $58.65 could tarnish the Saatchi brand since Saatchi has always associated himself with the high end of the art market spectrum having made a name for himself as an early supporter of the Young British Artists including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas (see Saatchi Is Selling Another Seminal Tracey Emin Installation).

Saatchi Art’s financial backers Balderton Capital reportedly initiated last year’s sale of the online platform to Demand Media out of frustration at the venture’s failure to make enough money, according to Skate’s. In contradiction to this the Q1 sales figures for 2015 announced by Demand Media show an increase of 56 percent.

Demand Media is also defending a case launched on December 30, 2014 by Charles Saatchi and Robert Norton in Delaware Chancery Court. The allegations in this case amount to a breach of trust for Demand Media’s own financial gain to the detriment of Saatchi and Norton.

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