In design, there is always a call for exceptional ideas – and copying them has become something of a sport. Not surprisingly then, going your own way while protecting your creative work from free riders is no easy task. “In business, less value is attached to intellectual property than in the world of art,” comments Andreas Reichlin. It was in 2005 that Reichlin, whose medium of choice is steel, had an idea for the kind of functional sculpture that would take barbecuing to a new level. The “Feuerring” was born. A gentle and creative method of preparing food using indirect heat, paired with the straightforward aesthetics of the steel fire bowl – making it a real focal point outdoors, at any time of year. With its robust, durable materials, the Feuerring is a classic once-in-a-generation piece. However, although its patent protected its constructional features from an early date, it did not cover its outstanding design. So, in order to curb the number of me-too’s copying primarily the design itself that Reichlin and his partner Beate Hoyer have been faced with in recent years, what was called for was a clear statement on the copyright issue.
Its characteristic combination of art and design meant that the Feuerring was somehow predestined to gain wider recognition. One of the courts did eventually confirm the artistry of Reichlin’s work. “For me, as a sculptor, it is great that the shape I created is now effectively protected,” remarks Reichlin. A new power that gives him and his team the security they need to allow the sparks to keep flying without outsiders attempting to hijack their business. Further developments to the Feuerring in their studio on Lake Zug are now in full swing. “In the future, I hope to develop larger versions designed for various different spaces. Work on the Feuerring is a life calling,” explains Reichlin. Now he no longer needs to worry about authorship. The Feuerring remains the original, as the law agrees. (am)