The Ball Pit Manila (BPM), a playground for adults wherein a pool is filled with white balls, was launched in Manila, Philippines last week and immediately made noise in the country. But, shortly after it was opened to the public, a firm based in New York, Pearfisher, is claiming that they own some of the photos used by BPM in their promotional campaign.
In an interview with the Business World, Katrina Kay Lacap, one of the BPM owners, admitted that one of the pictures they had been using to promote their business was fake. She clarified that there was only one photo, which has now been deleted from their official website.
Lacap also claimed that the other photos posted on their site was taken by her friends. However, the founding partner and chief compliance officer of Pearfisher, Karen Welman, claimed that those pictures were taken by their staff and owned by their company, in an email sent to the Business World.
?Their friends did not take these photos, they are the photos of my staff, shot for our own personal use. Everyone that attended both the New York venue and London venue signed a disclaimer and a copyright form,? said Welman. She even called the incident a case of ?intellectual property theft.?
In line with this, Pearlfisher has already issued a ?cease and desist legal letter,? according to the Business World. YouTube also took down the promotional videos that BPM had been using, which is said to be stolen as well. ?They have stolen images, films, and now they are going to steal money of clients for an experience they don?t own,? Welman added.
The issue it seems is just not about the photos and videos, but the whole idea of Ball Pit Manila was allegedly copied from Pearlfisher?s Jump In!, as also mentioned in the Business World?s report.
Lacap said that they knew about Jump In! through Facebook posts of their foreign friends and they decided to bring the concept to the Philippines. However, she is also claiming that they are not obliged to ask permission to draw inspiration from the idea and execute their own concept of it. ?This is different. I guess you take certain ideas and then transform it,? Lacap said. ?It?s just an installation. That?s it. We?re hoping they won?t take it against us. Really, you can?t trademark a ball pit. It?s everywhere. For us it?s too vague. It?s too wide,? she added.
Welman?s letter to the Business World was concluded with the words, ?Perhaps the entrepreneurs would consider a little less stealing and a little more giving??
Ball Pit Manila was launched last March 1 and so far it has been a success. Its official Facebook page has been liked by 28,069 people after they opened the business to the public.
The owners of BPM seem to stand firm on its claim that there was no need for them to ask permission.