Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) a thief? Of course it depends on who you ask. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) would probably say yes, seeing as how the two companies keep suing each other for patent infringement. Technology companies in general seem to think everyone is stealing from them. Now we can add a street artist in New York City to the list of those who think Apple ripped them off.

Apple Ad

Artist sends Apple a letter

The New York Daily News reports that artist James De La Vega sent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) a cease and desist letter, claiming that the company’s iPhone 5S campaign uses a slogan he trademarked. The artist said it’s been almost 10 years since he started using the slogan, “You are more powerful than you think.” it’s part of his “Become Your Dream” series of street art.

The artist graduated from Cornell University with a fine arts degree. He has been doing chalk drawings on sidewalks for some time. He’s also painted the phrase into murals and a graffiti motif Tory Burch, a designer, used for a line of fashion accessories and handbags.

Artist in the quotes business

De La Vega also said so many people know him for the quote he says Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stole from him, a company contacted him to request his permission to use the quote. Quotable Cards Inc. makes magnets with quotations from famous people on them. Recently, the company did a series with quotes from living people rather than those who have already died.

De La Vega says now he has an entire series of inspiring and uplifting quotes. He believes Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was “well aware” that the slogan was his when the company decided to use it in its ad campaign for the iPhone 5S.

Apple highlights iPhone 5S features

Most people have probably seen the iPhone 5S ad the artist is talking about. It demonstrates how people can create videos, record rock bands, and launch rockets. The ad uses The Pixies’ song “Gigantic” in the commercial. During the commercial, the slogan, “You’re more powerful than you think,” appears on the screen and is spoken by the narrator.

In the cease and desist letter, De La Vega said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) must acknowledge its violation of his trademark and that he is the “common law owner” of it. The letter also states that the company’s use of his slogan “clearly misleads consumers into believing De La Vega somehow supports, approves and / or endorses its products” and that it “contradicts and undermines” his message.

The letter also states that the artist wants to negotiate a settlement to avoid a lawsuit.