Zara Home Convicted for Plagiarism –
Decision of Brussels Court in case Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home
Zara Home Candle | Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home
To Whom it May Concern:
Zara Home Convicted for Plagiarism – Decision of Brussels Court in case Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home
The purpose of this press release/statement is to allow my clients to manage, streamline and react to the numerous requests for interviews that have come their way following the decision of the Brussels Court in the matter of Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home.
The decision is attached to this e-mail, and summarized below. This statement also includes a couple of quotes from the decision, and subsequent remarks from the claimants and their lawyer. We politely ask you to direct any further questions you may have to Dieter Delarue via firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Summary of the decision – quote:
The Brussels Court held that, while that is not the case for the original family coat of arms, the adaptation (wood carved sculpture) made of it by mr Patrick Damiaens is an original work of art and thus protected by copyright. The Brussels Court further held that by reproducing the sculpture onto a carved candle sold online and in Zara Home stores, without the artist’s permission, Zara Home infringed this copyright.
The Brussels Court ordered Zara Home to stop selling the candles (Zara Home had already pulled back the applicable candles), and convicted Zara Home to pay damages and legal costs, and to publish the decision in the “Heraldisch Tijdschrift”, a periodical focused on heraldic art.
Reflecting on Zara's typical modus operandi, the Brussels Court stated the following: "this clearly illustrates the intentions and attitude of Zara Home when designing and producing the candle: a commercially interesting and existing design, of not too much renown, is reproduced on the applicable goods in order to optimize sales without any recognition of the person who actually created the work and whose personality the work reflects."
Statement by Dieter Delarue (lawyer for Patrick Damiaens and Mervyn Odink)
“As a copyright lawyer and a true advocate for the protection of innovation and creativity, it has always struck me that, no matter how strong and noisy the media campaigns against these practices were, in the end they faded away and the retailers went on and copied further. The retailers have always assumed that smaller designers or artist would be bluffed away, or would not persist in enforcing their rights. I hope that this decision, probably the first of its kind, even worldwide, can serve as a turning point in that respect, and that it may give courage to other designers or artists that are in the same boat.
Statement by Patrick Damiaens (claimant 1):
“I am very happy with the result. Two long years of persistence finally paid off. Zara Home found images of my sculpture online (probably on my blog), copied my work on one of its products and sold the product all over the world, without asking my permission. And then, when asked for an explanation two years ago, they simply waived the expression of my concern and feeling of disrespect away. They even threatened with a law suit for slander. I felt insulted and was too stubborn to let things go just like that.“
Statement by Mervyn Odink (claimant 2):
“To a certain extent I am happy with the end result: that Zara Home did not get away with what it did and that it has to realize that respect for third parties’ intellectual property rights is something that they need to show, too, no matter how big they are. I am disappointed, however, to the extent that the court has held that the original family coat or arms is not protected by copyright, because the creation of a work like this is in part the result of pre-defined choices or the combination of existing elements. We do not agree with this point of view”.