Spanish architect sues Ashghal

February 19, 2013 - 2:10:53 am

By Isabel Ovalle

DOHA: A Spanish architect has filed a lawsuit against the public works authority, Ashghal, on grounds of alleged infringement of patent rights in the design of lampposts on Al Waab Street.

Recently, a court in Barcelona admitted the lawsuit, filed last June by architect Elizabeth Galí, for breach of patents in producing and installing street lights identical to the one designed by her.

The patent for the lights, called Latina, is claimed by the Spanish company Santa and Cole, a member of the Barcelona Design Centre (BCD in Spanish), a non-profit foundation created in 1973 to promote design and innovation.

The BCD, which is supporting the architect in the legal process, recently issued a press release widely reported by the Spanish media, saying that with its alleged counterfeits, Ashghal could have caused moral damage to the architect and substantial financial damage to the company.

In addition, the foundation said it was worried about the safety of people due to the alleged counterfeiting of street lamps. “The abysmal quality of the falsifications can cause traffic accidents due to dazzling or the detachment of their components,” said the BCD.

After six years of attempts to reach an amicable agreement and due to the refusal to arbitration by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the courts of Barcelona have admitted what could be one of the biggest lawsuits for piracy,” the non-profit foundation added, as reported by Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.

According to these reports, the court has served notice of the lawsuit, with the legal cautions and warnings, to be replied to in 20 days. “Notice of the lawsuit was due to be served through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Spanish Embassy in Qatar,” reported Spanish daily ABC.

Beth Galí was born in Barcelona and has received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal awarded by the French government, among other recognitions, and has been guest professor in numerous institutions, including Harvard University. The firm she heads has designed private and public buildings in Spain, Germany and Italy, among other places.