A freelance designer who created the VIP passes for the Hong Kong Sevens for the past 10 years has accused the organisers of using her artwork without her permission in a bid to save money.
Lawman Law was in the process of printing this year's passes in January when the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union suddenly said it had changed its mind. It is alleged the union went ahead and produced the passes elsewhere, without her knowledge.
Law's Genius Design and Printing Company had been retained for the past 10 years to design and produce the various passes to gain access to restricted areas of the Hong Kong Stadium during the tournament. Law was approached again this year for the job.
In December and January she liaised with the union's commercial department and provided designs. As it turned out, the style was nearly identical to the last year's, with the only change being the date. Law was then told the union would not need her services, which she accepted, while making clear she owned the copyright to the design and artwork.
When the tournament kicked off in March, the passes appeared identical to Law's design.
Through her lawyer, Law contacted the union to arrange compensation. If an agreement can't be reached, Law has instructed her lawyer to begin legal proceedings against the union for misappropriation of her property rights.
"Each year for the past 10 years the union has asked me to design and be responsible for the printing of their VIP passes. There has never been a problem and they have been happy with my work," Law said. "I had already revised the artwork they asked for and liaised with their staff on printing quantity. When they suddenly put everything on hold, it really surprised me and I got suspicious."
The union argues the design and artwork were used last year and it only adapted them and the logo with minor design changes such as the new dates. As such, it offered Law HK$8,800, which it felt was fair.
Law views it as a derisory offer and wants HK$80,000. She said the union has since raised its offer to HK$20,000, and negotiations are continuing.
"We're in the middle of a process involving ourselves and this company, so it's inappropriate to go into any details at this time," union chairman Trevor Gregory said. "But we are working towards a solution."