Apple Inc. Accused Of Stealing iPhone 5S Ad Slogan From Artist

iphone 8 apple stockElisaRiva / Pixabay

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.

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.

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About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at

10 Comments on "Apple Inc. Accused Of Stealing iPhone 5S Ad Slogan From Artist"

  1. I don’t remember there being a lawsuit. From what I remember they sent a cease and desist letter to Apple and Apple agreed to pay them for it.

  2. There is a picture of Bernie Madoff, one of the biggest swindlers or our time, using a Mac. Hmmm.

  3. There is a picture of Bernie Madoff, one of the biggest swindlers of our time, using a Mac. Hmmm.

  4. How funny, you actually think Samsung had something to do with the railway company’s decision to sue Apple? HA ha ha… thanks for the yuks.

  5. Yes, Russell. Whatever. This is the same Swiss National Railway that is now using Samsung tablets, yes?

  6. Happens all the time to Apple because they do it to other companies.
    It’s not like they are the most ethical company either.

  7. “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. ”

    Samsung bought in two patents that they didn’t create for 2 million in order countersue Apple. They earned 158 thousand bucks on numbering images in a folder – something Apple was doing in 2007 with the original iPhone.

    As for the other thing, just a normal shakedown, happens all the time to Apple… The most sued company of all time, because they have the largest coffers.

  8. It doesn’t surprise me. Why pay when you can steal?

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