Humans have been creating graffiti – inscriptions or drawings on public surfaces – for over 20,000 years. During this time, graffiti's status has ranged from an accepted form of public communication to the reviled defacement of others' property. Over the past 50 years, graffiti has evolved from personal tags illegally painted on gritty public infrastructure to fine art sold at auction and in galleries. As the quality and commercial value of graffiti have risen, so too has litigation to prevent its destruction and misappropriation. Congress enacted the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) in 1990 to grant moral rights to artists; it has since become graffiti artists' sharpest tool for controlling the destiny of both their sanctioned and unsanctioned works.
In this 2019 update on VARA cases, Flann Lippincott will explore the inherent tension between the moral rights granted to graffiti artists and the property rights of the owners of the surfaces on which the graffiti rests. The program will discuss significant VARA cases and the copyright, property, criminal, and commercial issues that arise and review some hypothetical issues for practitioners to consider.
Flann Lippincott was an art history major in college and has long been interested in how graffiti reflects a society's culture and values. She has counseled graffiti artists and art dealers who represent graffiti artists, and she uses graffiti art as the foundation of a presentation on design law.
Flann is a transaction and litigation attorney with a professional background in art, design, science, and business. She blends these experiences with law to give her clients the legal tools that they need to achieve business success. Having acquired and defended her own trademarks, design patent, and contracts for her prior international consumer products company, Flann is sensitive to both the commercial and personal value of intellectual property to her clients.
Law Practice Areas
Copyright and trademark clearance, registration, management, protection, litigation| Design and Utility patents and Registered Community Designs | IP and design law planning and strategy| Commercial contract and licensing agreement drafting and litigation| Trademark Trial and Appeal Board opposition and cancellation proceedings| Licensed in New Jersey, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Parsons School of Design, Part Time Lecturer, Bachelor of Business Administration, Business Regulations and Practices | Certificate Program in Design Entrepreneurship, Pratt Institute, Center for Sustainable Design Studies, Staying out of Trouble
Industrial Designers Society of America | Product Development Management Association | American Intellectual Property Law Association | American Bar Association Design Law Group
B.A. Art History, Cornell University | M.S.J. Intellectual Property, magna cum laude, Seton Hall University School of Law | J.D. Rutgers University School of Law - Newark.