Lope & James SPRL, a Belgian prêt-à-porter company launched its collection ‘Montagnes’ which contains a 2-D monogram incorporated into textiles produced on an industrial scale. As the small company is based in Europe, it relies on the Unregistered Community Design. Therefore, it did not register the design neither in Belgium nor in the EU. The company rightly relied that its right comes into existence automatically after the first disclosure of the design to the public in the EU and thus giving the owner the right to prevent unauthorised copying of the design.
Lope & James started negotiations with a Peruvian enterprise which would potentially distribute the collection. A few months later the Belgian company became aware that the Peruvian counterpart was launching a collection on their own. The monogram used in the fabric was extremely similar to the ‘Montagnes’ collection.
In order to stop the infringement, Lope & James contacted a Peruvian lawyer, but unfortunately could not provide any certificate of ownership neither under copyright nor industrial design granted in Peru. There were non-disclosure agreements in place.