Qatar accused of "counterfeiting 1000 street lamps"
Dezeen Wire: Spanish lighting brand Santa & Cole has launched a lawsuit accusing the state of Qatar of copying street lighting devised for Barcelona by Catalan designer Beth Galí in 1996.
920 lights have been installed by the Ashghal public authority along Al Waab Street in Doha (top and above), which Santa & Cole claim are counterfeits of their Latina street lamps designed by Galí (below). They also claim the designs incude low-quality light sources that dazzle drivers and thin steel that represents a structural safety hazard.
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Here are some more details from Santa & Cole:
Lawsuit against Qatar due to counterfeiting 1,000 streetlamps and threatening the intellectual property of their designer
The public company Ashghal from Qatar forged the "Latina" streetlamp, designed by the architect Beth Galí, and manufactured and marketed by the company Santa & Cole. Nearly 1,000 forged units were installed on Al Waab Street, the main street in Doha.
Beth Galí has lodged a lawsuit in the Courts of Barcelona to report the case, in which she expressed her "full confidence in justice to resolve a large-scale forgery case that is threatening the creativity of professionals and European companies".
BCD and Santa & Cole, as well as several personalities working in architecture and design in Barcelona, went to the courts to show their support and to make the facts public.
Javier Nieto, Chairman of Santa & Cole: "It is unbelievable that a country such as Qatar could commit such a serious case of forgery"
Pau Herrera, Chairman of BCD: "Protecting design as a factor of innovation is essential to create economic and social value in Europe"
One of the biggest cases of public counterfeiting in the history of Design
The architect Beth Galí, the Chairman of Santa & Cole, Javier Nieto Santa, and the Chairman of BCD (Barcelona Design Centre), Pau Herrera, invited the media to Courts of Law in Barcelona to publicly announce the large-scale forgery committed by Qatar.
The meeting, carried out at the doors of the Courts of Law in Barcelona, was held due to the lawsuit for pain and suffering lodged on June 29 by Beth Galí against Qatar, which forged the "Latina" streetlamp via the public company Ashghal in 2006, designed by her and manufactured and marketed by the company Santa & Cole.
This case of large-scale forgery is especially relevant as the offender is a sovereign state, in addition to the case being particularly large and the development of events.
The crime committed by Qatar can be seen along the 10 kilometres of Al Waab Street, the main street in the capital of Qatar, Doha, where the public company Ashghal installed approximately 900 forgeries of the "Latina" streetlamp.
Although the case is being made public now, the facts go back to April 2005, when Ashghal requested Santa & Cole to complete an entire lighting project for Al Waab Street for the 14th Asian Games (Doha, 2006). After the Qatari authorities chose the "Latina" streetlamp, which was adapted beforehand to meet the needs of the project, and having submitted five different projects with models and technical specifications, Ashghal requested a local company to make nearly 1,000 copies of the "Latina" streetlamp in 2006.
After six years of trying to reach an amicable agreement, and after the Qatari government refused the arbitration of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the case is now in the hands of the Courts of Barcelona and one of the largest acts of piracy in the history of design committed by a sovereign state is now being made public.
In this context, the claimant, Beth Galí, expressed her "full confidence in the Spanish legal system to resolve a blatant case of large-scale forgery" at the courts.
Supporting the business sector and design BCD (Barcelona Design Centre) and Santa & Cole, as well as other personalities working in the design and architecture sector in Barcelona, were with Beth Galí during the submission of the first lawsuit to show their support and to make the facts public.
Javier Nieto Santa, the Chairman of Santa & Cole, stated to the media that the "Latina" streetlamp case perplexed him, ensuring that "it is unbelievable that Qatar, a sovereign nation and member of the WIPO and the WTO, bound by the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement, could commit such a large case of forgery, which undoubtedly shows a complete disregard for copyright".
In this regard, Pau Herrera, Chairman of BCD, ensured that "protecting design as a factor of innovation is essential to create economic and social value, and represents one of the most important assets of professionals and European companies". Herrera added that cases such as this one "do not only damage our business, but also the city model Barcelona wants to project".