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Belgian designer to pursue Tokyo logo plagiarism case

A Belgian graphic designer will press on with a court case against the International Olympic Committee over a logo for the Tokyo 2020 Games despite the withdrawal of a key co-plaintiff, his lawyer said on Monday.

Olivier Debie filed a lawsuit in a Belgian court last month, alleging that Japanese designer Kenjiro Sano's Olympic design was plagiarised from the logo Debie made for a theatre in the Belgian city of Liege.

Late on Monday, just hours before a preliminary hearing, the theatre announced it was dropping out of the case.

"The Theatre de Liege, copyright holder of its logo, has decided to waive the pending procedure in Liege against the IOC," the theatre company said in a statement.

"After examining the pleas and evidence submitted by the IOC and the definitive withdrawal of Mr Sano's logo, (the theatre) acknowledges that the disputed emblem, regardless of any similarity with its logo, is not breaching its rights," it said.

Debie's lawyer, Philippe Mottard, however told AFP his client was still pursuing his case.

Mottard said Debie refused settlement "under any circumstances", as long as the IOC failed to admit to plagiarism.

Last month, Tokyo's Olympic committee dropped the scandal-hit logo, but insisted the move was not in response to the legal action and that the designs were different.

The first hearing of the case is to take place in a civil court in Liege, with a decision due in the coming weeks or months.

Earlier this month, Debie told AFP: "Plagiarism is impossible to prove but the facts are there: the layout and the typography are virtually identical.

"When I see the Tokyo 2020 logo, I say to myself, that's the logo I created in 2011."

Tokyo's former emblem is based around the letter "T" - for Tokyo, tomorrow and team - with a red circle said to represent a beating heart.

The Liege theatre's design features a similar shape in white against a black background, although no circle.

Tokyo officials said their decision was due to unrelated problems, including evidence Sano had improperly used Internet images to publicise his logo. - AFP.

OlympicsJapan2020 Tokyo OlympicsplagiarismOlivier DebieTheatre