The iconic ‘Fearless Girl’ bronze statue aimed at supporting the elevation of women in corporate roles has found itself in the midst of a legal battle after companies around the world have commissioned ‘copycat’ versions.
The original bronze statue in Lower Manhattan was installed on 7th March 2017 ahead of international women’s day. The financial services firm that purchased the original, State Street Global Advisors, has called other versions ‘unauthorised copies’ and is waging an aggressive legal was against them.
On Monday, lawyers from the company appeared in a Melbourne, Australia court in proceedings filed against a personal injury firm, Maurice Blackburn, that commissioned a copy of the statue and had it installed in Federation Square, a city landmark.
State Street’s legal team have argued in court that the ‘unauthorised versions’ are a trademark violation and diminish the company’s message. A lawyer said the Australian personal injury firm “used the campaign to promote itself or themselves by tying the name of Fearless Girl to themselves,” according to a New York Times report.
Lawyers for Maurice Blackburn, however, argue that the American company is attempting to “retrospectively assert rights” over the artwork it did not obtain at the time of the original purchase.
A leading lawyer from the Australian company remarked that “the saddest part of all of this is that their actions are sullying this icon..The stature could be something across the world that they could be proud of, and instead they are using it as a vehicle of control. They should really know that feminism can’t be owned or controlled by the men of Wall Street.”