Lope & James SPRL, a Belgian prêt-a -porter company, launched their collection ‘Montagnes’. This collection contained a 2-D monogram incorporated into textiles produced on an industrial scale.
Since the small company sold across Europe, the protection of its monogram relied on the unregistered community design. Said protection arises automatically after the first public disclosure of the design in the EU and it gives the owner the right to prevent the unauthorised copying of the design, without the need of filing an application. Therefore, the Belgian design was not registered neither in Belgium nor in the EU.
Lope & James started negotiations with a Peruvian enterprise, which would potentially distribute the collection in Peru. After a year of an intense work of promotion, 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 that used in the ‘Montagnes’ collection.
To stop the infringement, Lope & James contacted a Peruvian lawyer. Unfortunately, no certificate of ownership could be provided, neither under copyright nor through an industrial design granted in Peru. Moreover, no confidential agreements took place.