The big lighting forgery
Singapore, 6th August 2012
One of the articles that caught my eyes over the weekend carried by Mondo Arc’s online magazine version, was about the big Qatar forgery. I quote from the article. According to a press statement released by lighting manufacturer Santa & Cole, a Qatari public company forged the Latina street lamp designed, manufactured and marketed by them, and installed nearly 1000 pieces on Al Awaab Street, one of the main streets in Doha.
What is even more disturbing, though common practice around Asia I must say, is that S&C at the time was requested to submit several project samples with complete technical specifications, all this in the spirit of the 14th Asian Games that took place in Doha in 2006. But instead of ordering the lights from the original manufacturer, the Qatari public company requested a local company to copy the products. While we are used to forgeries in the private sector (the famous “Chinese” copies), to see this happening by a public company is a bit alarming.
Following years of unsuccessful negotiations and arbitrations (even through the World Intellectual Property Organisation), S&C brought the case to the Courts of Law in Barcelona which was announced by the company on the 24th of July recently, claiming it was “one of the largest acts of piracy in the history of design committed by a sovereign state”. As a general principle it is important and essential to protect intellectual property as it often represents one of the most important assets of individual professionals and companies. I find it even more shocking knowing that Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world and on a very strong economic development path. Surely it does not need to resort to this sort of actions.
Light Watch 3-118: I was in Doha earlier in the year and remember (blogged about) the light in question. Not for good reasons though. While the design principle is interesting and has its applications, seeing hundreds of them lining up along a main road was disturbing to say the least. The light fixture is so dominant and so in your face, looking like cranes parked along the road. I absolutely did not like the sight and feel, in my opinion totally out of character. On top of that having 5 floodlights per pole to light up a section of the road seemed totally over the top, where one proper road lighting fixture could have done the same job…and I am not even talking about energy management and maintenance…
The original left and the copy on the right, below some pics I took when in Doha