On the 13th of January 2022, one of our members shared a message with me. It made me anxious and curious about its content and thankful for the information dispensed. The message had an image that showed one of our intellectual properties, a logo, being used in an article of clothing without attribution and consent.

The culprit was a clothing-based company – which is not something new in Nepal. We can easily find look-alike clothing of multinational companies being made in the streets of Thamel, Kathmandu. Still, it was a shock to me that some of our property had been stolen in such a manner.

Even though stolen property was from a niche brand of ours, the act of stealing it is still unethical. Unauthorized use of the intellectual property registered by a company or an individual is an infringement, and the entity or a registered legal individual who does this act is the infringer.

The infringing company (called Yarsa Wears) had a Facebook page that helped us reach the owner. I immediately found the their contact information and called the owner of the company. During the call, I informed them about the property that they were using. We made sure to convey that we were ready to take legal action if necessary, as we had the right to do so. However, the response I received was unsatisfactory.

The next day, me and one of our core members at Yarsa Labs visited the clothing company. We asked for the owner's whereabouts after reaching the company's outlet. The owner arrived, and we began a conversation about the subject.

The owner insisted that they had no idea that other parties owned the logo they were using; instead, he claimed they had asked an embroidery shop to develop a logo that matched their company's name. It seemed like that particular embroidery shop was the real culprit.

So, we asked the owner to lead us to that embroidery shop that provided them with the stolen printing and designs. After a short walk, we reached Karki Embroidery, which was the shop responsible. We asked them on what norms and on whose consent had they printed intellectual property they did not own. They said that they had no idea about who the logo belonged to, and apologized for their blunder.

To prevent this issue from repeating, we formed an agreement to ensure that no printings of our logo would be made further. We also decided to drop the court case if this condition was met. If we had gone for the legal option, they would have been penalized under the Intellectual Property Act of Nepal (1965). Knowing this, the infringing party was happy to sign this agreement with us. With this, we were assured that no more articles of clothing that had our Name or Logo on it would be produced, and the printing of clothing tags which infringed our intellectual property would also be halted immediately.

This is not to say that none of our Branding Resources can be used by other parties. The chief concern here is permission and going through the proper channels. Many of our logos and other properties can be used for promotional campaigns, news, blogs or videos – but they require our explicit permission. If this interests you, or if you find someone else using our branding without permission, visit our official site for detailed information on how to contact us.

I hope this story acts as a cautionary tale about infringing on someone else's intellectual property.