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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Belgian woodcarver gets Zara to the knees | Zara Home Inditex Brussels | Belgian (Limburger) beats ZARA in plagiarism case

Left the work of Patrick Damiaens - Right the candle of Zara home

Belgian woodcarver gets Zara to the knees.

Newspaper article published on July 5, 2017
With permission from DE TIJD, Belgian business and financial newspaper

Translation Lis Alvar R,
In the original article, the author Ben Serrure speaks about the Limburger (as a person), this has changed to Belgian. Explication: Limburg is a province of Belgium.

According to the Brussels Courts of Commerce, the chain of stores Zara Home has copied a design of the ornamental woodcarver Patrick Damiaens without any hesitation.
Patrick Damiaens fell of the chair when he received a call from Paris in 2014. A friend of the Belgian (Limburg) woodcarver was surprised with a decorated candle while shopping in the furniture chain Zara Home. Nothing special itself. The design of the candle was like “two drops” to the design that Damiaens had made two years earlier.

Specifically, it was a family shield that Damiaens had carved on behalf of the Dutch family Odink. The family wanted a 3D version of the recently updated coat of arms, and knocked to the door of the Belgian (Limburg), a famous name in the world of heraldic art. After the assignment was completed, Damiaens placed a picture of the result on his website and began working on other work.
Great was his surprise when, after the call, his job was found in the Antwerp branch of Zara Home, daughter of Inditex, one of the world's most valuable companies. Damiaens did not agree with it, and, along with client Odink, hired a lawyer.

On the cover of De Tijd
Belgian (Limburger) beats ZARA in plagiarism case

Belgian woodcarver forces billion company ZARA on the knees

Sales ban
With result. The Brussels court of commerce ruled that Odink did not, but Damiaens could have copyrighted the design, and that Zara Home had committed infringements by placing the candles on the market. The court therefore condemns Zara Home to pay a compensation and a ban on the future sales of the decorative candles, which had already been taken out of business.
The verdict and, consequently, the compensation payable, by the territorial jurisdiction of the court, relate only to the candles sold in Belgium, attorney Dieter Delarue, who acted for Damiaens in the case, explained. But the verdict is a good starting point for further actions. For example, the Limburger now has a starting point to proceed against Zara in Spain, where the ban and the compensation could then be extended to all of Europe.
Zara can still appeal. The company is currently considering any further steps, let attorney Jef Keustermans know.

David vs Goliath

It's by no means the first time that small designers or artists are being copied by fast retailers like Zara. Zara was already under fire for copying small designers, while a company like H & M is regularly accused of plagiarism.
Recently, Belgian lingerie designer Muriel Scherre of La Fille d'O sounded the bell after H & M put a bra in the shelf that looked like a design of her. Scherre said that she did not wanted to proceed, because she thought she had little chances to win against "Goliath" as H & M.
That is why this sentence is so important, Delarue believes. "It is a unique precedent in the sense that it may be the first time that a fast retailer is convicted by a court for something like this, far beyond Belgium.

Elsewhere and earlier, often with symbolic outrage actions via social or regular media. They are of course useful, but they will also be over by time. The Zara's of this world also know that, which makes them seldom impressed and therefore does not give a proper result. Now, of course, they cannot do anything else. "

It is apparent that the court in the sentence expresses Zara's conduct explicitly and in strict terms. Answers to the argument of Zara Home's that a friend of Damiaens was required to recognize the design, the court writes the following:
'This reflects Zara Home's approach and attitude in the design and production of the concerned candle: an interesting and existing design that does not have a prominent general reputation may be applied to the goods in question with a view to the optimization/increase of sales and without any acknowledgment of the person who created that work through his own intellectual input. '

"It is precisely the attractiveness to the consumer that Zara Home has put in place to reproduce exactly the work of Mr. Damiaens and not to choose another design," the court continues. 'A clearer proof of the banalization of the sculpture of Mr. Damiaens cannot be offer.'


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