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London luxury brand sends legal notice to Pakistani event organiser

Designers says Raka Events copied art work without permission

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 3, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Feb 3, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

British luxury furniture brand Jimmie Martin has sent a legal notice to Amina Rashid Khan of Raka Events in Pakistan for what it says is imitating their aesthetic for one of Karachi’s most talked about events: the Kidney Centre fund-raising brunch.

The brunch, which took place at Beach Luxury Hotel earlier in January, is one of the city’s most-awaited events with fancy food, décor and the city’s elite in attendance. Seats go for Rs15,000 and this year, more than 700 people attended.

Jimmie Martin representative in Pakistan, Sana Chaudhry, confirmed to SAMAA Digital that her clients had sent Raka Events a notice for what it said was copying their work and using their name on an invitation without giving prior their knowledge or asking for consent.

“It is absolutely and unequivocally a theft of someone’s intellectual property,” she said. “They are a well-known duo who handmade their products. Their art is synonymous only with their names. No one else in the world does this type of art. They have big celebrities, royalty and a lot of Pakistani clients too.”

SAMAA Digital reached out to Amina Rashid Khan from Raka Events for comment but she did not respond. A representative from the Kidney Centre said that they didn’t have anything to do with what was happening.

The designers make customized furniture with handpainted artwork, lamps, cushions and wallpaper. Their clients, as per their website (https://jimmiemartin.com/) include: Madonna, Liam Gallagher, Surrey Hotel, Selfridges among others.

In a video shared with SAMAA Digital, Jimmie of Jimmie Martin said that he just wanted to set the record straight for their clients.

“There was a charity event held in Karachi for the Kidney Centre by Amina Rashid Khan. The brunch’s theme was perfect imperfection and the majority of the décor was replications of our hard work and furniture. Neither the Kidney Centre nor the event manager reached out to us to inform us about this or asked for our permission before reproducing our work,” he said.

“The invitation cards for the brunch also had a completely fabricated quote attached to our name. Once again, our name was printed on the card itself without our consent or knowledge. We reached out to Amina [Khan] and were given vague responses after which, she did not respond,” he added.

The designer claimed that it had taken them 16 years in the business to make their name and this incident had let their clients down. According to him, they were also being harassed by people known to the event organisers.

“They think we are pursuing legal action just for payday,” said Jimmie. “For us, it’s a matter of principle. Our work is our pride and it was stolen from us.” He added that if they had been contacted, they would have happily contributed to the charity and helped collaborate.

Their lawyer Jawaid Mir confirmed that the legal notice had been received. He told SAMAA Digital that he had asked the event organiser and Kidney Centre to apologise and hand over the counterfeit pieces.

The brunch  
Last week, the luxury furniture designers learnt of the brunch when people started tagging them in posts from Karachi. Soon, Jimmie Martin noticed that it was happening because their work was being used.

The designers posted on social media about how they felt. According to an Instagram story shared from the official @jimmiemartin account, they posted screenshots from the event.

View this post on Instagram

So finding myself yesterday and today having conversations with myself (like in this pic haha) about how to go ahead with the news that hit us that our brand and designs has been copied at a big event in Pakistan. This all happen as I was in Paris yesterday walking around sourcing for our current and upcoming interior projects. So thought I d post from the stand at Maison Objet a few years ago when I first launched our naughty angels which has been a huge success! May even be doing the show next year again... we shall see.. was fun seeing old friends and brands around the show! You know who you are. #maisonobjet2020 #maisonobjet #mo20 #mo2020 #interiordesign #designfair #tradefair #pose #angel #instagay #selfie #designerslife #designer #luxurylifestyle #paris #dontfuckwithme 😝

A post shared by Jimmie Martin (@jimmiemartin) on Jan 21, 2020 at 6:55am PST

They shared responses from their Pakistani fanbase in an Instagram story.
Talking to SAMAA Digital over the phone, Jimmie said: “I have Instagram followers and fans who were invited to the event and also existing VIP clients who started tagging me and questioning what was going on.” He was sent videos as well. “They could clearly see that the pieces were not my pieces but my name was on the invite and on some of the artworks,” he added.

The brand’s representative in Pakistan said that they are a well-known brand locally with a solid clientele in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad.

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3 Comments

  1. Sana’a Ahmad  February 3, 2020 7:57 pm/ Reply

    Seriously? I find it shocking that our own lawyers suddenly become so righteous and are working for these international designers “pro bono” for such publicity! Where are these pro bono lawyers when girls are getting raped and there is no justice? And also our local media should first get proper statements from our event planners and local charities before they also lead the path in bad- naming them! Suing a charity?? Not doing it for money?! Then please what are they doing this for. This is defamation.
    Events are always themed and the article clearly states Jimmie martinis name was everywhere- isn’t that a clear sign that it wasn’t plagiarism? Why are we so quick to defend others but not our own people? Kidney centre and Amina Rashid have Been working for years to help raise money and doing something good ; the few good things happening in our country nowadays and even for that we blindly spread negativity.

  2. The voice of reason.  February 4, 2020 3:14 pm/ Reply

    Just to set the record straight, the event manager is being sued, not the charity. The charity is being sent a legal notice to return the props. And slathering a name of someone all over an event, using their brand and then replicating their work 100 percent is not at all what inspiration is. It’s not hard to send one email or message to the brand that’s being paid such a “tribute” to.
    Do you not understand that, there was a blatant theft of artwork? In entirety, no difference from the original? Doesn’t matter if the proceeds went to charity or not. It’s clearly like walking into a bank and robbing it, and then giving the money away to charity. Doesn’t absolve the perpetrators of their crime of theft, does it?
    Also, it’s not your or anyone else’s right to say which case a lawyer can or cannot represent. If there is a client who wants to sue, then any lawyer is free to do their bidding and represent to their point of view to the best of his ability. Just because there are people being raped and murdered, doesn’t mean that an artist was not raped off his hard work for which he seeks restitution.
    This sort of prove legend mindset needs to be put to rest. Atleast admit that the act of copying the work was wrong, and then no apology was issued even after numerous attempts to contact the event managers and the charity?
    Did you also read the part about the event manager Amina not commenting even though she has been contacted to comment time and again by a ariega of publications? She is too arrogant to admit that did wrong. And now she will pay for it.

  3. Majid Aziz  February 4, 2020 3:17 pm/ Reply

    Aren’t pro bono cases always done for publicity? Here and anywhere in the world, lawyers take on high profile cases for free because of principle, publicity and ofcourse having to set a record; which this case will be for sure. No more of cafes and commercial activities copied in full from foreign lands…

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