Protecting Intellectual Property

Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at 11:09 am
Posted by Jenny Hudson

Fans and followers of Lady Luck Rules OK will be familiar with their IP dispute last week. On Friday morning the independent jewellery and accessories label posted a message on Twitter, claiming their Russian Doll design had been ‘blatantly ripped off’ by internet retail giant ASOS. Judging by the influx of sympathy and support from fans and fellow independent designers, this hit a nerve. ASOS was quick to respond, removing the item immediately, promising to investigate and to contact the supplier of the item.

Sadly, it seems that disputes of this kind are not as rare as you might think. Lady Luck’s subsequent blog post outlines a number of similar disputes, despite their signing up to Briffa’s Design Protect scheme.

The growing popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook brings this kind of dispute to the public’s attention. No-one wants that kind of publicity. And it can’t be a bad thing when small independents are facing large corporates and retail companies.

Reading through Lady Luck’s blog post, the thing that struck me was just how damaging IP theft can be. Of course we’re familiar with the financial consequences. It’s hard enough for independents to survive and to compete with the high street, without having their designs stolen, mass produced and sold at a cheaper price. The cost implications here are obvious and added to this is the time it takes to fight these disputes. But what may be less obvious is the personal consequences. In her post Lady Luck owner Leona Baker writes about the painstaking process she goes through to create each piece of jewellery from the initial research to all the little touches that makes her jewellery unique. She goes onto say, ‘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.’

Leona offers tips and advice for anyone who has found themselves in this situation. She is also inviting people to join in the conversation by leaving a comment on her blog. To weigh in and have your say go to www.ladyluckrulesok.com/journal/2010/01/artwork_theft.php.

Further information on protecting your intellectual property can be found at www.briffa.com.

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