November 2017. The Asserbo is a striking wine cooler which doubles as a speaker cabinet and lamp. As a creative work, it’s certainly protected by copyright. But if there’s no proof as to who designed it, those rights won’t mean much.

The Lampion. Foto: Nikki Amsterdam

Copyright infringement

Nomenta, the company which markets the Asserbo, recently accused rival firm Nikki of copyright infringement after it began selling an almost identical-looking wine cooler under the name Lampion.

No proof, no rights

However, on 11 October 2017 a court in Haarlem ruled that Nomenta had not convincingly shown it was the designer of the Asserbo. Moreover, Nikki had provided evidence suggesting it had actually been designed by a third party. All this uncertainty led the court to reject Nomenta’s copyright claim.

Need for documentary proof

The case demonstrates the importance of having sound documentary evidence supporting the design process. You need this to prove your copyright, which is something that arises by itself regardless of any registration.

Bas Kist