The Velvet Underground, a seminal New York City rock band, sued Andy Warhol's management foundation Wednesday over use of the iconic banana logo the late pop artist created for the cover of their 1967 debut album.
The band's founding members, Lou Reed and John Cale, filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court in New York accusing the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts of licensing the banana logo for use on smartphone cases and other merchandise.
Warhol created the logo -- a banana with black streaks against a white background with the words Peel Slowly and See by the stem -- with an image already in the public domain. Warhol, who managed the Velvet Underground and hired them as his studio's in-house band, was paid for the album design but had failed to copyright the piece, according to the suit.
Reed and Cale say the banana logo has become an instantly recognizable symbol of the Velvet Underground and has become the band's trademark. The Warhol Foundation, formed after Warhol's death in 1987, did not immediately return request for comment.
It is not merely the graphic reproduction by Andy Warhol of a piece of fruit: it is the 'iconic' VU banana, the suit said.