So, when Uniqlo set about holding their annual design contest last year, the chosen theme was Pokémon, and after a while, they announced their winner.
Li Wen Pei won the UT Grand Prix and was about to win $10,000 and have his design featured in Pokémon Sword and Shield, set to come to Switch later this year, but it took a turn when Uniqlo says Wen Pei has been disqualified for failing to adhere to the contest’s rules.
Uniqlo commented in a statement in regards to the disqualification;
“Uniqlo, the Japenase global apparel retailer, today announces that it has disqualified the Grand Prize winner and another finalist in its Pokémon-themed UT Grand Prix 2019 design contest after learning that the designs in question were not in accordance with the terms of that competition.
Uniqlo will not award the Grand Prize to another entrant or sell merchandise feature the designs.”
Uniqlo hasn’t commented about the disqualification but it is speculated that this isn’t the first time Li Wen Pei used this design for commercial purposes, which violates the rules of the contest.
According to a translation of a now-deleted post on the Chinese social media website Sina Weibo by website Nintendo Soup, it is said that Wen Pei sold some phone cases with the exact artwork on it. The same design was also seen on t-shirts. Wen Pei said that the design’s appearance on t-shirts was the work of piracy.
It isn’t surprising that piracy is rampant in China, but Uniqlo did not accept the reason.
One of the UTGP 2019 rules states that “Uniqlo may withdraw prizes and/or terminate merchandising of t-shirts with Winning Artworks without prior notice to an entrant, irrespective of the originality of the Artwork submitted by the entrant if similar artwork is already publicly available from outside Uniqlo stores.”
There you have it, folks, that might be the reason why Uniqlo pulled this design off, although hasn’t confirmed the reason why Wen Pei was disqualified from the contest.