Couple Claim Their House Is Being Mimicked a Mile Away

Construction temporarily postponed in the interest of 'professional courtesy'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2016 11:18 AM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2016 7:31 AM CDT
Couple Claim Their House Is Being Mimicked a Mile Away
Seth and Rivka Fortgang copyrighted their plans to ensure that their million-dollar Long Island mansion would remain one-of-a-kind.   (Steven Stern/Handout)

In 2005, Long Island couple Seth and Rivka Fortgang built their dream home in the village of Lawrence and copyrighted the architectural plans to ensure that it remained truly one-of-a-kind. Now Rivka, an interior and exterior designer who envisioned the whole project, says her business and reputation are suffering because a nearly identical house is being built in Cedarhurst just a mile away, reports the New York Post. Among the Fortgangs' accusations, per their copyright infringement lawsuit: "There is no doubt that [Daniella and Ari Schwartz] have accessed and intentionally copied the plans of the Fortgang residence" by way of the Lawrence Buildings Department with the intention of aping the design.

Atlas Obscura observes that the locations of the window and gables do seem similar. The Schwartzes have thus far responded through their attorney, Daniel Schloss, and contend that while the design features being shared are too "generic" to be covered under the Copyright Act, they are temporarily postponing construction "in the interests of professional courtesy," reports the New York Daily News. The Fortgangs' attorney hasn't commented beyond the lawsuit. Real estate website Zillow puts the Fortgang house, which is 4,400 square feet and features 5.5 bathrooms, at $1.48 million. (Check out where this reclusive heiress hid the architectural plans of a mansion she never spent a night in.)

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