Fast food chain McDonald’s may have to change its plans for revamping some of its European stores after being accused of "piracy" by Frtiz Hansen.
From the TIME article
"McDonald’s approached us some six months ago to help revitalize and revamp their European restaurants," Fritz Hansen CEO Jacob Holm told TIME in Copenhagen. "We developed Arne Jacobsen chairs in special colors and began deliveries." In particular Avanzi and McDonald’s chose The Egg and The Seven chairs, two of Jacobsen’s most iconic creations. Jacobsen, who died in 1971, contracted Fritz Hansen to be the sole licensed manufacturer of his designs in 1934, meaning nobody else can make an original Egg (created in 1958) or Seven (1955). Approximately 2,500 of those chairs have already been sold to McDonald’s, according to Holm. "But," he says, "we discovered that terrible copies of our furniture were also being used in the U.K. That is unacceptable. We simply will not work with people who use originals where they have to and copies elsewhere, legal or otherwise."
According to copyright law’s in the United Kingdom, McDonald’s is technically doing nothing wrong. Since the U.K. rights on the designs of the chairs have expired, which holds that the rights on a design last a maximum of 25 years, instead of 70 as in much of Europe — British furniture stores and websites are legitimately selling copies of the Egg chair for a fraction of the original price.
28 McDonald’s in the U.K. that were refurbished in 2006 and fitted with all original Fritz Hansen chairs. By the end of this year, another 100 restaurants will have gone through a "re-image": some using all originals, some using reproductions and some using a combination of both. "While the reproduction chairs are naturally very similar to the original design, there are differences," says Homer. "No attempt has been made to ‘pass off’ reproduction chairs as originals in any references or labeling."
"The fact that McDonald’s has chosen to use pirated copies is even more surprising since the company itself is legendary across the world in pursuing trademark and copyright suits to safeguard its product and name," Mr Holm said.
McDonald’s admitted using chairs that were similar-looking reproductions of the iconic designs, but said the company had not acted improperly.
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