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When we found out ASOS had stolen our Russian Doll artwork on Friday, I’m sorry to say it's not the first time another company has sold an inferior copy of our original artwork. Up until now we have kept the distress & frustration away from our customers – Lady Luck Rules OK is filled with rock’n’roll, rainbows & unicorns, right? Unfortunately not. I have to thank Lyndsay from Made By White for her blog post about Freedom copying her adorable brooch set last week for giving me the determination to reveal what happened to us at the hands of ASOS. The power of Twitter meant that the offending ring was removed from sale within one hour of our blog post/tweet and I have to say I was impressed with the speed in which they dealt with the situation. I’m sure it wasn’t out of the goodness of their heart, any company that has a Social Media Manager is there to act quickly when bad press starts to rapidly ping about the net. Before the days of Twitter it was a much longer drawn out process…
When we set up Lady Luck Rules OK in 2003 I attended a seminar by Own It and decided to sign up to Design Protect with Briffa to protect our intellectual property rights. In March 2006, copies of our best selling Music Lover boombox brooch started cropping up on eBay and in independent stores – but they weren’t ours! A bit of internet sleuthing revealed an Australian based wholesaler called Nookart was the copying culprit. Briffa handled the case for us but because Nookart weren’t based in the UK there was little we could do as the Design Protect insurance only covered infringements within the UK. Nookart said they had purchased the design from a “backpacking graphic designer” (convenient, huh?) and the rather eccentric owner of Nookart said he would only deal directly with me and not our solicitors. In the end he removed the brooch from sale, re-called the stock from retail stores and destroyed the remaining units. This all took weeks and many, many e-mails all resulting in our next collection launching late.
In February 2008 I was link-clicking and landed on the adorable Girlsaremadeofsugar website when I saw an exact copy of our enamel Rainbow Heart being sold as one of their designs. I sent an e-mail and Cynthia replied telling us the shocking news that she had purchased the necklace from Primark in Spain for just 1.50! In the same month, Mellie from Belgium e-mailed to tell us about cheapo jewellery store chain Six which is the European version of Claire’s Accessories and their very poor replica of our Robot Lover necklace. She sent us the photo above. Sigh. In the November, Karen e-mailed us about the UK website Extreme Largeness because she thought they were selling recreations of our products. They had in fact gone for the hat trick and were selling copies of our Raygun, Rocket & Robot (he’s a popular lil’ guy!). I called the company up and spoke to the owner who told us she had purchased the jewellery from a factory in Thailand and was unaware the artwork had been stolen from us. I’d like to believe this were true but they had attempted to open a wholesale account with us 6 months earlier (we don’t tend to wholesale to other online stores) so they *were* aware of our designs. It's unfortunate that when she discovered the copies she didn't tell us about it but instead purchased and sold them. She did remove the copies from her website the same day we spoke on the telephone.
The most disappointing trend has been the copying by other small businesses or individuals - and this is very common. We've seen our logo crop up on t-shirts in Germany, our Tattoo Parlour collection photocopied onto shrinky dink jewellery in America, and our tattoo heart artwork replicated onto wooden jewellery here in England. I'm sure these people didn't mean any real harm, they were just being lazy. Sure, if you want to make a robot necklace, do what we do and have fun watching B-movies, look at those fantastic collection of metal toys from the 50's, thumb through old Boy's Adventure books and then put them aside while you let all this fantastic inspiration and your imagination conjure up your dream robot. Give him the features, like googly eyes and a dinky little heart that you think will make him that little bit special. Draw the shapes that you like, and use your favourite colours... But where's the satisfaction in simply replicating something someone else has done? Sometimes people say we should be flattered when this happens, but we really only ever feel hurt because something that was very special to us has been spoilt by someone we've never met.
So what is an independent designer-maker to do? Unfortunately, I still don’t have a definitive answer, we're still learning too! We stopped paying into the Design Protect scheme because when it came to the crunch it didn’t seem they could help us. As a true independent we deal with the situation ourselves by doing the following…
1. The minute we find out about a copy we start gathering evidence. If it's being sold online take a screengrab of the whole page. If it's being sold in a bricks and mortar store (in the UK!) go and buy one, keep receipt & packaging.
2. Before going public or contacting the company show/e-mail a link to friends and family to gather some honest feedback. It's easy to feel you have been copied when in reality, sometimes it's just that people have similar ideas at similar times. Other times it's obvious to everyone who looks at it that your original work was more than just 'inspiration' to someone else, and that they've copied you.
3. Contact the buyer/designer of the company with a friendly first e-mail/letter (remember they *might* be unaware this is a copy). I prefer to keep everything in writing, in case I need to prove what has been communicated later on. It's easy to forget what you've said over the phone. Cease & Desist letters can come later if they don't co-operate. Provide them with evidence that this is our design, we also include blog entries and press articles which are good quick visual way to date when we launched the design. Request they remove the article from sale immediately and either send the remaining stock to us to destroy or allow them to do it.
4. Compensation? In my experience this is just not a reality, although maybe I should pursue this part more... after all they have saved themselves the time we spent designing and prototyping it, profited from our design, possibly lost us sales, and cheated our valued customers who come to us for unique, well-made jewellery. If you're a designer/illustrator who's successfully managed this part please post a comment below and tell us your story.
5. From now on I will blog 'n' tweet 'n' tell all. Everyone has a right to know that these things happen and customers might feel they no longer want to buy from or support those companies who repeatedly rip off the creative inspiration of others.
6. Have a cup of tea and get over it! It is genuinely hurtful when you first see something you remember doodling on a scrap of paper, drawing and re-drawing until it's just right, excitedly sampling and testing and finally launching to your customers being copied, made badly and sold at half the price you could afford to make it for. Apart from anything else, it's heartbreaking that some people might actually think these shoddy copies were created by me! The people who do this are selfish, lazy and greedy - phew - it makes me so angry, but I have to calm down... As a small business we don't have the resources or money to get involved in time-consuming legal actions and are too busy to feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, we HAD to put our energy into fresh ideas and invent jewellery that was harder to copy. Sadly, one of the reasons we stopped making enamels was that they kept being copied - but it did result in us developing several new handmade techniques, such as printing onto wood and applying glitter to acrylic.
So what happened with ASOS? Well, Llana their Social Media Manager, told us that they have removed the offending article from their site while they contact the supplier and has also informed me that ASOS don’t actually design jewellery in house. The sad truth is that ASOS brand goods are probably sourced by a buyer from a factory in the Far East...
These factories churn out cheap mass produced pieces that's very often copied from other designers to sell in wholesale quantities to shops across the world. It's not exactly the glossy image portrayed on the fashion store’s website, is it? It’s also a fair assumption that it was the factory that stole our artwork, manufactured it and sold it to the buyer. However, I think it's highly unlikely indeed that nobody in the buying office of ASOS was aware it was one of our designs, as we had a lot of press on the Russian Doll. These buyers are paid to be aware of trends, and for this reason, we regularly remove their e-mail addresses from our mailing list when they sign up to it... Besides, back in 2005 we sold a line of jewellery to them! So I’m waiting to hear back from Llana to see what the “supplier” has to say for themselves, because I really don't think they can defend their position for buying this counterfeit, find out what is happening to the remaining stock and in the meantime keeping an eye on their Outlet section to make sure the dolly doesn’t pop up there!
So there you go - running a small creative business isn't all pretty is it? I have in the past lost a lot of sleep and spent a lot of time on these gut wrenching matters instead of designing jewellery. It's a good job I adore what I do and that we have the lovely support of so many customers & fellow designer/makers. I hope this blog might help people going through similar issues or if it's already happened to you please post a comment below and share your story. Is there more we can be doing to protect our artwork/creations? And what do our customers make of all this, we'd love to hear some feedback!
Terrible, terrible, terrible that any of this ever happened but what an immensely insightful and useful post for other designers, including myself. You're right about the support aspect - we are all in this together, and one of the best things is that for the most part, we're all rooting for each other. I hope that ASOS are the first ones you pursue on the compensation front!
hey leona! former llrok! interner katy here. fantastic article, incredibly helpful for indie designers!! i remember you telling me about the boombox ripoff, but i had no idea about the others! you handle these awful situations with class, though. in the end, your designs and products will always be tops! xx
Such a great post, thanks. I can't even imagine how gutted you felt when you first saw your designs being copied so blatantly, especially on mainstream websites. I have had work copied, on a smaller scale, and know the heart-sinking feeling when you click on that link.
It's so nice when people let you know though isn't it? It's reassuring that these poor copies are being recognised as your original design, at least in some situations.
Your work, products and store are brilliant and so is your attitude. Keep up the good work and keep naming and shaming those copycats with no imagination!
I do understand what you're saying 100% and it made me not really want to buy things on ASOS anymore...
I say support boutiques! :D
Mm yes i saw on twitter. You guys are amazing. Stupid people x :)
This is the final straw for me buying from asos. poor quality and stealing designs. pathetic coming from a massive company like this. great post, i hope you sort this out and get your compensation x
Hey! I love llrok and it was very interesting to read about all of this shame on ASOS! and all of the unoriginal people out there who steal others work
This kind of thing angers me so much, to the point that I feel like I shouldn't make anything again, seeing as someone will only try and pass it off as there own, sooner or later.
And it's not the first time ASOS has stolen from independent designers actually. They've stolen from Kate WIlson too, but I think you know her and so probably already know that! =]
ah, this is both a negative and a postive blog post! firstly, negative in that one would, as an independent business, trust that your designs remain your designs, but as you have pointed out, this is unfortunately not a reality anymore. what happened to good old fashioned creativity over profit? (maybe i'm too naive). its sad to see this type of thing happen to incredibly talented and dynamic small businesses like yours. the positive about this post is that you've given us practical advice, good advice. thank you for telling us like it is and what can happen. sorry that its happened to you, lets hope it doesn't happen to someone else.
I shall not be buying from ASOS either, as who knows how many boutiques have been ripped off and had their worked made into shoddy copies.
Its a shame you can't do enamel work anymore as I'd love the lightingbolt lipstick to make a come back! Perhaps in Acrylic, and with glitter? That would be gorgeous.
I hope you have no more people ripping you off and if I do see anything, I'll report it straight away! Its such a shame and I feel your pain and anger. I hope you get some compenstation and not just vouchers to shop on their site!
Unfortunately you can't shoot them! These people who run companies that rip off the original idea's are lazy and desperate, lets feel bad for them. We should support the people we love and stay local in our consumer purchasing. Remember if you support the bad guyz you might not be able to support the good guyz because they will have gone out of business..... thank you very much!
I can appreciate Lady Luck rules ok's pain and heartbreak, as I too have been very ripped off by small independent designer's and Freedom at Top Shop. I will say it only wear's you down and you do feel like giving up....but to all the bad guyz create your own idea's coz it feels better when you sleep at nite!
To all the good guyz stay positive and leave all the bad guyz in the dust of creative power going forward with excellent idea's forever! YOU GO GIRL! LLROK! LOVE u! J xx
I know Leona for quite a few years and know how creative, original and hard-working she is, it just breaks my heart when things like that happen! I just can’t understand why people are so lazy to end up copying other people’s ideas!??!
I am a web designer and work with a lot of creative people. They are always worried that their ideas will be stolen from their websites. It’s a catch-22 situation sometimes – they want to show their designs and perhaps sell online, but also worried some big brand names or Chinese factories will rip them off… There is not a lot I can do to reassure them, it can be a frustrating issue sometimes, but I am always surprised by their originality and imagination, and hope that the rest of the world can also see it!
I always preferred little boutiques to big high-street shops; small designers to big brands; I think it’s all down to personal taste, but I always find they are the most interesting and unusual!
ASOS – you been caught… LLROK – you are the real deal! xxx
Unfortunately, I think one of the key issues here lies with the fundamental structure of large businesses. I've worked for large design studios and there are many levels of management even with Creatives, which can be surprising to those who work for small or independent companies. Design briefs will be written with profit in mind by managers who are not Creatives. Most of the time artwork reference will be used- after all by building on existing ground or trends you can guarantee a certain level of sales, but I was sometimes shocked by how closely studio managers wanted me to follow reference. It takes a lot of courage as a junior designer to stand up to people senior to you and tell them that you can't work on a brief because you consider it plagiarism, and it can obviously cost you your job. It's heart breaking to sit in a roomful of people who are capable of coming up with original designs when all the top brass want is for old ideas rehashed, tweaked and yes, sometimes copied.
I'm not defending those designers who copy artwork- I'm sure they're aware that it firstly is only barely legal (and then only if you change sufficient details) and secondly devalues the entire industry by polluting it with inferior design, but I wanted to contribute a different viewpoint. Whilst just calling copycat brands names definitely makes us feel better, it doesn't really help! I think that posts like yours are great for naming and shaming these brands, but it's the advice you give that is really helpful. I'm going to start contacting independents when I see their work being ripped, and taking screengrabs so they can have evidence. If the entire creative community supports itself in this way at least we'll have a network of people looking out for each other! It's also great to open this sort of dialogue as by raising awareness on the issue perhaps consumers outside of the creative community will see how inferior these rip-offs are and be convinced to support small businesses. If the high street starts to notice a decrease in profits from copied designs perhaps they'll stop making them.
I'd also say to all creatives out there that if you do get the courage together to leave big studio jobs where these sorts of things go on, it's totally worth it. I'd never go back! Vive le independents!
Very interesting reading. I think it's brilliant that an independent company is so publicly standing up to these large corporations.
Please please please keep blogging about it - and in return I'm sure we'll all keep an eye out for cheap imitations!
I love LadyLuckRulesOK and I hate to think of these lazy 'designers' profiting from your hard work.
Thank you Leona for presenting your experiences in such a balanced and helpful way.
I wonder how many people realise just how much work is involved in running a small creative business? And what a stab in the heart it really is to see your own work stolen like this? It's a fantastic challenge to design products - in your case jewellery - that your customers will want, love even. You have to find out where to source the materials from, learn how to put them together (nobody's going to tell you how - there's no manual!), and make sure your finished piece is sturdy and elegant; no matter how beautiful it looks it's no good if it breaks!. This can take many attempts, and a lot of frustration. Sometimes you think it can't be done; sometimes other people tell you it's impossible. But you persevere, all the while having to bear in mind how much the materials and manufacture costs, and how you can sell this for a reasonable price, and still make enough money to live off. At the same you're aware that if you can't make this work, you've nothing to sell. You can't phone in sick; you're completely on your own - if you make no money you don't eat!
So, finally you've created this beautiful piece. You're really proud of it and you hope your customers will love it. The story doesn't end there - When you've created it, why then you've got to tell the world about it. This means having to learn how to photograph and retouch images yourself, write press releases, contact journalists, perhaps you have to train up on Photoshop and Illustrator, and learn how to code an html newsletter. Never mind that, you've probably had to build your own website. You don't only have to be good with the cute fun stuff; you have to learn some hard, technical stuff too. Oh yes, and some real tedious stuff too - like keeping VAT and tax records, preparing accounts, paying business rates, blah, blah, blah...
So, finally, your new product is launched on your website - will your customers want to buy it? Have you set the right price to make it pay your rent, and still compete against the low prices of the High Street?
I've not even mentioned you've then got to make hundreds of pieces to sell, run a crack shipping depot; keeping just the right amount of stock, making sure your customers are delighted, dealing with any problems - and then getting back to designing more products, because you can't afford to stand still in the fashion industry.
But hold on - what's this? While you were busy running your business, someone spent ten minutes autotracing a grab from your website, or posting one of your pieces off to China to be copied. This can only be the result of sheer greed, lack of talent, skill or guts to go through the hard work you've outlined. It's also, let's be clear - THEFT. And everyone involved in selling or buying counterfeit designs is cheapened in some way, not to mention the customers who've been cheated with ghastly ripoffs.
As a designer, I too would love to hear what both designers and customers think about this issue. I really hope everyone who reads this comments and tells somebody else about it.
Sadly, I've experienced this on the TINIEST scale too. I've been creating jewellery on my own for about four years now, and at the start, I thought it might be a nice idea to try to sell some of it. I had an Etsy shop, an eBay shop, and a MySpace page for it all, and sold a decent amount of stuff.
Everything I made was my own idea, mostly created with bits and pieces I found in the local fabric and art shops, so the majority of it was pretty unique. But soon enough, as I began to make a small name for myself amidst other amateaur jewellery makers, I started seeing a few of MY designs (as in horribly, BLATANTLY stolen from me) popping up, and genuinely couldn't do ANYTHING about it.
I felt rather disillusioned by the whole thing, closed my shops and sold the remainder of my stock to a fabulous, kitsch little place in Worcester called Second Hand Rose. Everything sold well there, but the jewellery making I do now is just for me and my friends and family. The lady who runs Second Hand Rose has invited me to do a craft stall at the fayre she organises every summer, and I'm thinking about it because my skill has certainly improved since I was selling in my shops. Plus if it's a one-off thing, I don't think I'll care if anybody steals my designs after that, it's their conscience.
Anyway, I do know how crappy it feels, but at least you have this awesomely loyal fanbase (myself included) who will always have an eye out for copies. And even if you can't do anything other than name and shame them, that's still a satisfying activity! You may just get a few people boycotting the unimaginative losers in the process, and that's always a good thing.
Good for you Leona. I'm so glad it got sorted out in end. When i did an internship at Superette, a year ago, i saw how much blood and sweat went into making those designs and how long they took to make etc. So it does make me sad when companies like that "try" and steal other people's designs and call them their own.
Well done for sticking to your guns though and claiming back what is rightfully yours :) x
Unfortunately I think this a symptom of a rather larger problem in retailing.
Many buying departments in large corporations are quite separate to art departments - if they even have one. Many buyers and retailers don't come from an arts background and barely understand what design is - the same can be said for many of the general public. In my experience buyers and buying managers think it's ok to give a manufacturer a picture of an existing product and say 'we want something like that, but just change it a bit' and think this is what design is.
The more manufacturing is based in the Far east and overseas the less integrity and originality is to be found.
These issues need bringing to the fore, and the lack of integrity in retailing has to be exposed and something done about it! I don't know how, but perhaps the more folk talk about these issues the more people will start to think about how and where things are made and what goes into making a product what it is.
Time to bring manufacturing back home!
wow. this is an eye-opener!
Well done on the blog honey - you made your case in a really clear and articulate way. I've made sure I have a copy of your 'top tips' on file for future reference, although I really hope I never need it. It will be really interesting to hear the feedback from their supplier - there's no way on earth they 'just happened' to produce an item that is so similar to yours. It's total plagiarism and it just makes me very, very sad that someone thinks it's ok to profit from your hard work and creativity. :(
I am honestly appalled with ASOS, as I have interned with you before and I know how much hard work goes into each piece of jewellery and for them to just steal your design and mass produce it to that level of quality is totally unacceptable. I agree with you when say that its impossible that no-one from their Buying Team realise that this was indeed a design from you, after all shouldn't they know all the trend designs and the happenings? Clearly they can't do there job!
Whats more appalling besides stealing your design and putting it on the website for sale, is the quality of the jewellery. The printing is so bad that I don't know how they can quite justify selling it. I've never brought any of ASOS branded clothing as I know the quality is very cheap and poor but this incident is just the icing on the cake. To think I was interesting in applying for job at ASOS, I would think again for a company that has no ethics and morals.
But on the positive side, good luck with your new collection. I look forward to seeing new jewellery designed by you. All the best for 2010 LLROK (I do miss working there ): )
Take care and speak soon
Well its definitely happened to my brand (Made by White) and just a couple of days before the ASOS rip off was discovered we discovered that Topshop where selling a direct copy of our brooch design on their website and in their stores.
It is indeed heartbreaking to have something you have put so much time and effort into designing/making/promoting become a cheap and nasty brooch in a horrible store like Topshop.
When it happened to us we contacted Topshop (after around 5 phone calls I finally got a girl to give us an email address of the "legal" team there) Everyone I spoke to said it's not their (Topshops) problem and I should talk to Freedom Jewellery (their supplier) Freedom don't even really exist it's just an alias of this DCK Concessions company. They also own a hideous junk jewellery shop in Australia called Diva and (apparently) are one of the biggest jewellery manufacturers in the world.
The only contact I have had with DCK is with the receptionist who I sent my story too - about 24 hours later I got an email from their lawyers stating its not worth them looking into it and seeing as though they removed it from sale they consider it "case closed". This really really annoys me what what am I supposed to do?
Pretty much I believe this is Topshops problem - they commission these pieces "Exclusively for Topshop" which means THEY are the only ones that have it and it's ripped off just for them. If it wasn't for them our brooch wouldn't have been copied.
Support Indie/handmade and boycot "made in china" mass produced rubbish, it maybe be cheaper but you are really just wasting your money!
Thank you for highlighting this Leona. I think what a lot of people don't realise is that it's not just about the financial implications (which can be great) but also about the personal implications. It must be soul destroying to find that something you have created from research to the final product has been taken by someone else and used to compete against you.
Thank you for starting the conversation. Hopefully other independents can be better 'armed' to deal with this in the future.
It's such an absolute crying shame that this kind of thing is still so widespread. When I owned last Chance Saloon (a London emporium-RIP) we were ripped off blatantly several times. Leona drew a recent problem with someone that supplied us to our attention recently, and one of the saddest things is when independent crafters steal stuff from others - let's face it, we don't even expect more from big companies usually. It makes me very, very seriously consider the implications of buying from these people in the future. At the very least I'd need a serious assurance that those days are over and it won't be happening again. As independents, the best thing that we can do is stick together and make sure the word is spread when this happens. Well done for getting it removed so quickly, but what a headache having to go through all of that. Bah!
An absolutely excellent piece...thank you for sharing your experience.
I too am a member of Own-It and have attended a couple of their seminars. Their advice was invaluable. However, the conclusion I came to was that you really need to 'name and shame'...let as many people know as possible what has happened. Post pictures so people can decide objectively whether it's a copy or not.
Also, we have the power of Social Media. It was brilliant the way that within minutes your tweet about ASOS was being retweeted...I was outraged and I'm sure others felt the same. So,by letting other independents know and customers there is a team of support for you!
O_O I was literally shocked to see the Russian Doll ring- it was a BLATANT steal!! I am glad you were informed about it and that they could not make any profits out of your work!! It is an eye-opener to read this post as clearly this has happened before and happens to a lot of other independent designers as well. It must be a horrible feeling to have worked sooo hard and put your creative energy into making unique and special designs and then suddenly finding a cheap fake!!!!
If I ever see a copy of ANY independent designers' (that I buy stuff from) work - I will make sure I let them know somehow! My friends and I never buy cheap fakes and I hope this blog will stop others from doing so!!
I am sure artists and customers will feel empowered by your blog and STAND UP for what is right and learn the power of the artist, the people and the online community!
Go LLROK! :) xoxo
How you managed to remain calm and composed enough to compile and write such a well balanced, honest and helpful reflection on these horrid instances of theft I do not know, ladybug. Of course, we have the rage on your behalf and we're both utterly appalled by the lack of ethics and poor business practice demonstrated by these folks - fellow indies and big corps alike. If you don't mind, Made In The Shade would like to post your top tips for protecting yourself, your ideas and your work and for taking effective action when you're in the tricky spot of having had work stolen round our network of vendors/suppliers. We'll also post it on our blog AND you can bet your boots a rather special (and urgent) article will be published on The Skinny site too in the next couple of days.
We wuv woo Leona! Y'all will ALWAYS have the support of the Made In The Shade Gals!
As someone who tries as hard as I can to stock proper original design in my shop (Hannah Zakari) it upsets me to have one of my designers email me because their work has been ripped off. It's infuriating and upsetting and in many cases it seems like there is nothing they can do about it. I think the advice you have given in your post is fantastic and raises an important issue for small creative businesses to think about.
I've also been in the sad position where content from HZ has been used in other online shops - ranging from the odd paragraph on an info page to an entire website using my photographs and text which had been translated into a different language! In fact writing this post inspired me to do a quick search and I found 3 shops using content written by me for HZ pretty quickly. Sigh.
The first time it happened I was shocked but now it doesn't really bother me, I kind of find it funny how often it happens. Like you, I'm maybe upset for a bit but then use the experience to drive me to keep coming up with different ideas, to keep HZ fresh and to keep searching for really cool new stuff.
Profiting from someone elses designs, ideas and hard work is terrible but the copy is NEVER as good as the original, as so brilliantly demonstrated by ASOS on this occasion. ASOS suck big time for this but you've handled the situation so well and I really admire you for it. Go Leona!
Leona! What a ruddy nightmare. I am so sorry you have to go through this sort of thing- stop designing such wonderous things and the problem will stop. (joke!) A great article m love. Hope it all gets sorted. Love to you all. mwa.x
I have posted this on your facebook. Not sure if you will see it there so I am posting it here too.
OWN IT: Quote: If your issue needs legal advice or intervention, then fill in the online advice form below. We will then either answer your query online, direct you to The Law for the Arts project at Queen Mary's University Legal Advice Centre or offer you an advice clinic (maximum 45 minutes) with a lawyer from Own-it's associated IP legal firms.
No one has to take this nonsense from big companies. Good luck, I really hope they can help you or point you int he right direction, your case is a strong one as people have said.
Urgh this industry can suck sometimes ay, i hope these companies are reading this and feeling pretty embarrassed. This recently happened to a design of mine with Freedom jewellery. I named and shamed them on my blog but didn't think writing to them would get me anywhere. After reading this i'm going to write to them and at least make them aware that those "designers" they are paying for are seriously slacking!...and lacking any imagination!
All us indie designers and customers need to stick together and inform the original designer if they see these copy cats doing this again, because unfortunately this isn't going to be a one off.
Keep being awesome Leona, you'll always be one step ahead of them! x x x
Below is what i wrote on my blog about what happened to me...
....i've just seen that Topshop (or "freedom" and i quote..."exclusively designed for Topshop, Freedom continues to STEAL the limelight with their intricate jewellery designs) have totally ripped off my hello sailor earrings!! Now i absolutely adore Topshop and i work within the industy so i know how it all works but screwing over little independent designers is pretty low. Thankfully it's a terrible copy but come on Topshop, cut out the copy cats and give Lolapop a concessions stand in your Oxford Street store. You have been named and shamed!! Tut tut!
I know this may not have nothing to do with what happened to you. But I just put in a search for ASOS RIP OFF... Right before I found your page I was shopping on ASOS's site and I noticed a few shoes by Steve Madden that I had previously seen on his site but the prices were ridiculous. I live in the U.S. and frequent the SM store. So I went back to his site in another tab and searched 4 pairs of shoes that ASOS was selling on their site. To my amazement the names were spelled a little differently as SM tends to use double letters which also made me think something was wrong. So I compared a open toe platform pump called Fiesstaa or should I say "Fiesta" according to ASOS and the price on ASOS was $178 and on SM actual site the same shoe was on sale for $49.98 original price being $99.98.... Plus they had a boot called AXEE on ASOS selling it for $280 and on SM site its only $99... This is complete madness and a RIP OFF.... NEVER WILL I EVER RECOMMEND OR PURCHASE FROM ASOS EVER AGAIN
Hello! I see the shrinky-dink tattoo jewellry all over Etsy - is it actually your design? I keep toying with buying some but if it's actually yours, I'd rather buy original.
Sophie - lots of US retailers charge more in the UK. Gap take the dollar sign off their price tags and replace it with a £, regardless of exchange rate.
It is frustrating and depressing to see people make money from your hard work and creative effort, while at the same time they debase your work with their inferior copies. DCK did the same with my work:
anyway it seems all we can do is make better stuff, and name and shame the thieves.
I used to be an independent Australian publisher of greeting cards, notes and wrapping paper. I had Australia and New Zealand wide distribution. Within 6 months of launching my business I was finding rip-offs of my art work everywhere from $2 shops to within the ranges of a company as big as Hallmark. Running the business entirely on my own I was unable to spare the time to follow up on the breaches of my copyright, so I just keep designing and kept getting ripped off. I was even accused of being the plagiarist by an executive of one of the offending companies, at an industry awards night, after one of my designs won in its category!!! I initially was able to sell my products at a premium price but due to the rip offs my distributor was unable to move my stock in sufficient numbers for me to make a living. I eventually gave the game away. This was all pre-internet, pre-twitter etc. I am so pleased that you are taking the action that you are and wish you all the best. I truly understand the sleepless nights and anxiety this can cause.