Honda sued by artists who claim TV commercial uses their work

Honda is being sued by two artists who claim that the automaker improperly used one of their large-scale sculptures in a television commercial, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

The report says that Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, the artists who created the 2005 Houston sculpture "Inversion," have filed a copyright infringement suit against the Honda Motor Co. and the commercial's directors.

They argue that the recent Honda commercial titled "Leap," for the Honda CR-V, infringed on their copyright of the artwork.


In the commercial, a red CR-V drives through an enormous hole that has mysteriously opened up in a house. The hole appears to take the form and shape of the "Inversion" sculpture. (A video of the commercial can be viewed above, and there's a series of images of the original sculpture.)

The Chronicle reports that Rogue, a British company that produced the commercial, contacted the artists about the sculpture in 2012. However, the plaintiffs claim that Rogue ultimately offered a token compensation, which they rejected, and that an agreement was never reached.

The lawsuit isn't without precedent. In 2011, the group of street artists known as TATS Cru claimed a Fiat commercial starring Jennifer Lopez used their work without permission. They reportedly reached a settlement with the Italian automaker.