The subject of copying appears it’s ugly head yet again at the start of 2015 with a number of handmade artisans finding out that other businesses are designing and making very similar if not identical handmade goods to them. Although this can sometimes be completely unintentional there are cases where blatant copying is occurring and no remorse from these copycats. These people are infringing on other businesses IP (intellectual property), design and copyrights knowingly so. Sometimes this may be down to another businesses success that they wish to try and re-create in their own business, it may be down to a lack of imagination and skills from the copycat person/business, whatever the reason it is against the law.
It is most important as a handmade artisan to find your own unique selling point and create your own brand identity that your following will relate to. There are a vast number of people now making handmade goods and such especially due to economic climate we have been in the past few years. There is a place for us all and it is really important to respect others in the same business.
I have always tried to create unique characters with most of my inspiration coming from being a mummy with two under 5′s and finding unique products to suit each of them. As an illustrator all of my creations are drawn by hand from my crazy imagination and then developed into digital drawings, patterns for my toys. I have myself been accused of copying, however this was not intentional and was by pure chance after my little boy created two monsters for his 4th birthday. You can read more about this story here in one of my previous blog posts.
If you suspect someone of directly copying your design style, first take a deep breath and think look at the evidence and then if you wish to pursue the matter then it is best to make sure you gather all the appropriate information first to back up your claim before jumping in all guns blazing. If you are unaware of the other person/business then it may be completely unintentional as they may not know of you either. Please bare this in mind when dealing with such a subject. Some people are unaware of IP and copyright laws and will continually breach them whether it being copying large companies popular characters for example or using small businesses products, in all cases these people need to be educated otherwise they could land themselves with their business being closed down by trading standards or even a law suit against them. For further information about IP and Copyright visit the Intellectual Property Office website.
Below are links to other articles which offer some practical advice on the subject of copying…