Qatar sued for allegedly forging streetlights
Beth Gali, a Catalina-based architect, is taking legal action against the Gulf state of Qatar over the alleged forgery of her ‘Latina’ streetlamp.
Gali claims that almost 1000 forged units of the streetlamp, designed by her but manufactured and marketed by Santa & Cole, have been installed on Al Waab Street in Doha, the capital city of Qatar.
According to a press statement, in 2005 the state of Qatar and Ashghal, the Qatari Public Works Authority, requested Santa & Cole to work on a lighting project for a 10km stretch of Al Waab Street for the 2006 Asian Games.
Santa & Cole claim that Ashghal chose the ‘Latina’ streetlamp, which was adapted to meet the needs of the project, after five different projects with models and technical specifications were submitted. They claim that instead of purchasing the luminaires from them, Ashghal then went on to request a local company to make nearly 1,000 copies of the streetlamp.
Gali claims to have attempted to reach an amicable agreement with the Qatari authorities over a period of six years, to no avail. In fact, the Qatari government refused the arbitration of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Now Galí, together with manufacturer Santa & Cole and the Barcelona Design Centre (BDC), this week issued a public statement confirming that she would press ahead with a legal case in the Spanish courts.
Having lodged the complaint, Gali stated her “Full confidence in the Spanish legal system to resolve a blatant case of large-scale forgery”. She went on further to say “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”.
“It is unbelievable that Qatar, a sovereign nation and member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, 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,” said Javier Nieto Santa, chairman of Santa & Cole.
Pau Herrera, Chairman of BCD, commented 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”.
Ashghal were unavailable for comment.
For further information, documents and pictures, please visit http://www.qatarfakes.com
26th July 2012