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Originally published Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Chihuly, rival glass artist settle dispute

Glass artist Dale Chihuly and a rival artist he sued for copyright violations announced Monday that they have settled their 14-month-old...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Glass artist Dale Chihuly and a rival artist he sued for copyright violations announced Monday that they have settled their 14-month-old court battle, putting to rest a legal saga that captured the attention of glass artists and collectors worldwide.

In a terse announcement Monday afternoon, Chihuly and Redmond glass artist/entrepreneur Robert Kaindl announced that their dispute "has been resolved to their mutual satisfaction."

Neither side would discuss the settlement or claim victory. But the art works being offered on Kaindl's Web sites — including styles disputed in the suit — remain unchanged. And the artist said he plans to open a glass-art-making shop in Redmond.

In the suit, filed last year in U.S. District Court, Chihuly accused Kaindl and Shelton glass artist Bryan Rubino of scheming to rip off his designs. He called some of their work "knockoffs" of his glass art, and asked the court to bar them from making similar work in the future. Both men countersued, raising questions about Chihuly's operations and the integrity of his work.

Chihuly and Rubino settled their claims in August, but Kaindl had vowed to fight to the end. On Monday, he would only say that "litigation is very, very expensive and very draining."

On Monday, Kaindl's Web sites — www.robertkaindl.com and www.artglassproduction.com — still contained photos of art work similar to those that were the subject of the widely publicized lawsuit.

Asked whether he planned to remove the photos from the sites, Kaindl said he would only be adding work. He also said he will be opening his own "hot shop" in Redmond after the new year, adding, "I'm going to focus on chandeliers."

In his suit, Chihuly claimed copyrights on scores of works, including his "chandeliers."

Unlike the settlement with Rubino, in which both sides "wished each other well in the future projects and independent creative development," Monday's announcement was all business: "The dispute between artist Dale Chihuly and artist Robert Kaindl has been resolved to their mutual satisfaction. The terms of the settlement are confidential."

Chihuly's publicist, Janet Makela, said the studio had nothing more to add.

The settlement caps a legal fight that seemed to cast a pall over Chihuly's operations at a time when the artist was struggling with depression from bipolar disorder. He has maintained a high public profile in recent months, and his studio and publishing company continue to release new work and art products for children.

Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508 or skelleher@seattletimes.com

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