From the archive
From the Complaint for Declaratory Relief; Demand for Jury Trial Filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division:
As virtually any clown can attest, no one owns the idea of making a balloon dog, and the shape created by twisting a balloon into a dog-like form is part of the public domain. The Balloon Dog Bookends manufactured by imm Living and sold by Park Life are painted resin statues based on the classic art of twisting balloons into the shape of animals, commonly practiced by clowns, magicians, and street performers. The Balloon Dog Sculpture that Koons claims to be infringed is a highly reflective metal reproduction, measuring over ten feet tall, based on a balloon twisted into shape to make a toy dog. The art of twisting balloons into the shape of animals, or ‘balloon modeling’ long predates Koons’ work. While the origin of balloon modeling is unknown, upon information and belief, balloon modeling has been traced back as far as 1939 when H.J. Bonnert of Scranton, Pennsylvania performed a balloon modeling act at the Pittsburgh Magicians’ Convention.