And the lawsuit goes to … Key Access. The Oscar ceremony is invite-only, but the group behind the annual shindig says the Los Angeles ticket broker sold some ducats to this year’s event. Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is suing Key Access and its owner.
In a suit filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), the Academy claims the broker “engaged, in the unauthorized sale and transfer of Academy Award tickets to members of the general public. And, in doing so, Defendants have used the Academy’s trademarks to promote and advertise the sale of those tickets.” That’s a big no-no in Tinseltown.
The suit, which also names Key Access founder-owner-CEO Dave Canter as a defendant, claims the company offered tickets to the 88th Oscars on Craigslist in February, looking to get $37,000 apiece. It says a Key Access employee communicated with an unnamed third party to buy two orchestra seats for $45,000 apiece and two in the balcony for $27,500 per, and arranged for an electronic transfer of funds. The deal was not made.
The Academy sent Key Access a cease-and-desist letter on February 26 demanding that it stop offering tickets and infringing on the Oscar trademark. “Defendants responded to the letter several times over the next two days,” the suit claims, “stating that their infringement of the Academy’s trademarks was inadvertent. Defendants denied offering any tickets for sale but refused to provide any information to counsel for the Academy about their communications regarding selling tickets.”
The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages, claiming breach of contract, trademark infringement, aiding and abetting trespass and unjust enrichment. It also wants an injunction to prevent Key Access and its folks from having anything to do with the purchasing or resale of Oscar tickets. Christopher Tayback, Gary E. Gans and Aaron Perahia of Quinn Emanuel Uuquhart & Sullivan are representing the Academy in the action.