Developments Continue in One World Trade Center Suit - Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal

Developments Continue in One World Trade Center Suit

October 3rd, 2017 | Category: Featured News, Industry News

Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) filed a motion to dismiss the suit of architect Jeehoon Park, who claims the firm stole his design for the One World Trade Center.

SOM filed its motion on September 8. The first point they address is that it took Park several years to file a complaint. He filed his original complaint on June 14, 2017.

“But this upfront motion turns on the inherently incredible proposition that it took Park over a decade to figure out that one of the most well-publicized buildings in the world infringed his student project,” says the motion. “The statute of limitations for copyright infringement is three years for good reason: no one should be able to come forth over a decade later with a complaint in these circumstances.”

Park alleges that SOM copied his 1999 graduate thesis for the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture. The design was titled “A Multi-Use High-Rise Concrete Building – Chicago’s Cityfront Center” (Cityfront ’99).

In his original complaint, Park claims that SOM had access to Cityfront ’99 from at least 1997 through 2005, “including through one of Mr. Park’s thesis advisors who was an Associate Partner with SOM, through SOM’s head of structural engineering who met with Mr. Park and saw the design of Cityfront ’99, and through the public display of Mr. Park’s model for Cityfront ’99 both outside the highrise studio in the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and in the lobby of SOM’s building.”

In SOM’s motion to dismiss, the firm states that it did not have access to Park’s design, and that any similarities are superficial and/or functional only.

“Park registered the architectural design of his building with the Copyright Office as an architectural work on May 9, 2017. He alleges that 1 WTC copies Cityfront ‘99, apparently based upon a (highly misleading) profile of the skin of the building, i.e., the exterior of it, but does not allege infringement of the architectural plans for his building and does not claim to have registered them,” says the motion.

SOM also argues that Park’s claims fail to address when he discovered the alleged copyright infringement and why he waited so long to assert his claims.

SOM registered its One World Trade Center design with the copyright Office in June 2005. Construction began April 2006 and ended May 2014.

Park has until October 10, 2017 to reply to the motion.

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