Did “Dubai Frame” design infringe copyright?

Did “Dubai Frame” design infringe copyright?

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Fernando Donis’ frame proposal won an international competition in 2008 organized by the German elevator company Thyssen Krupp in collaboration with the International Union of Architects (UIA). The contest received over 900 entries from across the globe and Donis’ void structure won the competition and a prize money of $100,000 and was flown to Dubai to be feted at a dinner with the crown prince

When a new observation tower named the “Dubai Frame” officially opened on January 1, this headline-worthy news was marred by a controversy over infringement of intellectual property rights over its design. Fernando Donis, a Mexican-born architect, claimed the idea was stolen from him and accused the Dubai municipality of infringing his copyright.

Fernando Donis’ frame proposal won an international competition in 2008 organized by the German elevator company Thyssen Krupp in collaboration with the International Union of Architects (UIA). The contest received over 900 entries from across the globe and Donis’ void structure won the competition and a prize money of $100,000 and was flown to Dubai to be feted at a dinner with the crown prince. But at the same time, the Dubai Municipality informed him that his role is just that of advisor and asked him to hand over his intellectual property on design, not to visit the construction site and not to promote the project as his own work. According to Donis, he refused to sign the contract and eventually Dubai Municipality hired Hyder Consulting for the project. Donis has filed a suit in a U.S. court against the Dubai municipality and one of the organizers of the 2009 competition.

The 150-m-tall and 93-m-long Dubai Frame is located in Dubai’s Zabeel Park. The hollow frame which is an architectural landmark, also acts as a “virtual boundary” between the old Dubai in the north and the newer city in the south. The frame provides the elevation for the people to enjoy different city views on the top glass-bottomed bridge.