On Nov. 14, legendary designer Henry Dunay lost a court battle with the new owners of the Henry Dunay company, and now faces severe restrictions on how he uses his name on social networks and the Internet.
Dunay’s former company went bankrupt in June 2009; its intellectual property was purchased by Sandawana Holdings in March 2010. Sandawana relaunched the Dunay company last February.
In April, Sandawana sued Dunay over his use of the HenryDunay.net domain, which it charged was being used to promote Dunay’s new company, HDD Inc. In August, the two sides agreed to a settlement, which enjoined Dunay from touting his brand on the site.
Two months later, the two sides were back in court, with Sandawana complaining the site was still promoting his name and his new company.
In November, a judge ruled that Sandawana would take over HenryDunay.net. Also, Dunay can’t promote his products under his own name on Facebook or Twitter, and when HDD advertises new products, the ads can say only they were “designed by Henry Dunay,” but those words must be in smaller letters than HDD Inc.
The court case has been “worse than the bankruptcy,” Dunay tells JCK. “I just want this to be over with, so they can let me do what I do best, not spending time with lawyers.”
But Sandawana’s lawyer, industry attorney Peter Berger, argues that his client paid a lot of money for the Dunay name and all that comes with it. “When you go into bankruptcy and you sell your famous name, which is also a trademark, you have severe limitations on how you can use it,” Berger says.