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Legal Battle Over Frida Kahlo's Legacy

2024

The Frida Kahlo Corporation has initiated legal proceedings against online vendors for unauthorized use of the artist's likeness and art. The corporation, holding the trademark, is seeking to halt the reproduction of Kahlo's works without permission.

In the lawsuits filed on March 4, the corporation demanded that Amazon sellers either surrender profits from the alleged counterfeit products or pay $2 million for each infringement of the trademark. The company asserts that the defendants' products are nearly identical or substantially similar to Kahlo's works, violating U.S. trademark law.

Following Kahlo's death in 1954 without a will, her property rights passed to her niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo. Isolda's daughter, Maria Cristina Romeo Pinedo, received power of attorney over these rights in 2003. The Frida Kahlo Corporation was established the following year in Panama City to manage the licensing and commercialization of the "Frida Kahlo" brand worldwide. The corporation now controls over two dozen trademarks associated with Kahlo.

The lawsuits claim that the online merchants used fictitious names to sell products on Amazon and other platforms, obtaining them from a common source. The corporation also alleges that the defendants communicate and collaborate to evade detection and discuss pending litigation and potential lawsuits.

This is not the first legal dispute involving Kahlo's brand. In 2018, the Frida Kahlo Corporation filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida against Kahlo's great-niece and her daughter, accusing them of trademark infringement. The conflict escalated following Mattel's release of a Barbie doll in Kahlo's likeness, with Kahlo's relatives contesting the corporation's licensing rights. A Mexican court ruled in favor of the relatives, ordering the doll's discontinuation in Mexican stores. Mattel claimed to have obtained permission from the Frida Kahlo Corporation.

These legal battles are complicated by Kahlo's political legacy. Inspired by the Mexican Revolution and later aligned with Communist and anti-imperialist causes, Kahlo was critical of capitalist systems in the United States and Europe. Her political beliefs add depth to the legal disputes over her image and legacy.

In conclusion, the Frida Kahlo Corporation's legal actions highlight the ongoing efforts to protect Kahlo's legacy and intellectual property rights. The lawsuits against Amazon sellers underscore the corporation's commitment to preserving the integrity of Kahlo's work and image.

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