Architect sues Qatar over 'forged' street lamps

Beth Galí alleges Gulf state's public works authority copied her design for 1,000 lampposts
Architect sues Qatar over 'forged' street lamps
(Getty Images)
By Claire Valdini
Thu 26 Jul 2012 10:56 AM

A Spanish architect, who alleges that Qatar forged nearly 1,000 street lamps she designed, has filed a lawsuit against the Gulf state.

Beth Galí said she was invited to design the street lamps for a 10km stretch of road in Doha for the 2006 Asian Games.

Authorities in the gas-rich state chose the ‘Latina’ design but instead of purchasing the lights from the official manufacturer, they commissioned Ashghal, the Qatari Public Works Authority, to copy the design, the architect claims.

Galí, together with manufacturer Santa & Cole and the Barcelona Design Centre, this week issued a public statement confirming that after six years of attempting to reach an amicable agreement, she would press ahead with a legal case.

“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,” Galí said in a statement published on the Barcelona Design Centre website.

Catalina-based Galí said Ashghal requested Santa & Cole to submit lighting designs for a lighting project for Al Waab Street in 2005. Galí submitted five designs with models and technical specifications and adapted the design of the Latina light. Ashghal installed approximately 900 forgeries of the light in 2006, said Galí.

“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.

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