Dezeen Magazine

Belgian designer abandons plagiarism lawsuit over Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo

Belgian designer Olivier Debie, who claimed that one of his designs was plagiarised for the recently ditched Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo, has dropped his lawsuit against event organisers.

The graphic designer stated that he had abandoned the legal case against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to escalating legal costs.

"After consideration, I prefer to withdraw my complaint," Debie told Japanese publication Kyodo News. "Even if I were to win, the legal costs would be so high that I couldn't recoup my expenses."

Debie took to social media in July last year to point out the similarities between his design for the Théâtre de Liège and Japanese designer Kenjiro Sano's Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo.

Sano rejected the accusations that he plagiarised the logo, telling journalists at the time that there was "absolutely no truth" in the claims.

In response, Debie took matters further and filed a lawsuit in conjunction with the Théâtre de Liège against the International Olympic Committee. Together they claimed financial damages for each "unauthorised" use of the logo.

Japanese organisers scrapped the logo following the allegations and quickly announced a public competition to find its replacement.

The Théâtre de Liège withdrew from legal proceedings in September in response, but Debie remained undeterred and continued to pursue reparations.

Things changed in January 2016 after Debie told online magazine Insidethegames that "it didn't make sense to continue" with the claim.

"The logo Tokyo 2020 has been retired and has been used for only one month," he said, before adding that an agreement had been proposed by the IOC that required him to sign a gagging clause. This offer was refused.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic games has been plagued with controversy. Zaha Hadid's competition-winning stadium design for the event was ditched after a campaign led by high-profile Japanese architects attacked it.

World-famous architect Kengo Kuma was one of the most vocal critics of Zaha Hadid's design, and later unveiled his alternative design that was then taken up by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisers.

Zaha Hadid recently revealed that event organisers were refusing to pay her for the work already completed on the project unless copyright on the ditched design was handed over and a gagging clause signed.