Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Strikingly Similar Design...

Here it goes...

I'm a posting this today as I understand the importance of standing up for yourself as a designer & your intellectual property rights... to not be scared... to speak out & protect what's rightfully yours.

I have received numerous emails lately from concerned clients, customers & supporters of my work.
It appears that British superstore Marks & Spencer  have a design that is well... what can I say... more than 'strikingingly similar' to my 'Etched Floral' hand drawn original design (first published in 2008).

It's one of my signature designs & I just want to point out  that I never granted permission for Marks & Spencer to use my design...

My 'Etched Floral' design has been a key print for my brand & has been sold successfully on my own branded products along with achieving international success as a licensed design throughout the UK, Europe & the USA.

Here are the images... I have been told that the top has been produced in at least three different colour ways & has been documented as being displayed in several key window displays from London to Bradford stores & many more...

I wanted to share this with you on the blog to raise awareness.


The Marks & Spencer  top (above left) & my Etched Floral tea towel (above right)

My 'Etched Floral' tea towel (above)



My 'Etched Floral' tea towel (above)


The top in store at Marks & Spencer (above)
 My 'Etched Floral' card (above)


Marks & Spencer top (above left) My 'Etched Floral' tea towel (also in pink, on the right)

My 'Etched Floral' tea towel (above)


My licensed British 'Etched Floral' wallpaper design (above)


My licensed USA 'Etched Floral' lighting design (above)



My 'Etched Floral' design licensed with Seascape lamps (2 images above)


  The Marks & Spencer top (above) 


My 'Etched Floral' oven mitt as featured in 'The Times' as the 'Linda Barker Choice' (above)

My 'Etched Floral' tea towel range featured in celebrity chef Gizzi Erskine's column for 'Company' magazine (above)


My 'Etched Floral' oven mitts & apron featured in 'Concept for Living' magazine (above)


The 'strikingly similar' design shown in an M&S window display in the Bradford city centre store.

The list goes on... the design has made several appearances on television also.

My blog (as it always is) has been left open for voluntary comments & feedback.


248 comments:

  1. Have you consulted a solicitor? Surely that's intellectual property infringement?

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    1. Try to push to settle with them and an apology. Even though It is a bad infringement unless you have design protection insurance or very deep pockets. Try to settle out of court.

      The papers would be interested in this too. Embarrassing them would be better to begin with.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-cutprice-clingy-cossie-conflict-1592111.html

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  2. Shocking! It looks exactly same as yours , can't believe m&s would do something like that !

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  3. Rachael this is disgraceful, an absolute rip off, there is no question about it!!! hope you get it sorted swiftly. sam x

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  4. It is disgusting, makes me feel sick just looking at it. It is a disgrace that such large companies think they can get away with blatantly copying!

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  5. That is awful! It is exactly the same...And from M&S as well! I expected better from them.x

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  6. This is awful! Shame on M&S who should be supporting great british designers like Rachael but instead are allowing this to happen! the product should be removed form the collection!

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  7. OMG Rachael, I'm in shock at what they've done. The pattern they've done is a like for like copy. Keep us informed what your going to do. They can't get away with that. Em x

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  8. That's terrible. I saw it in the Brighton store and just assumed it was you as its identical. There must be something you can do?

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  9. Yikes, this is awful - you'd think M&S would know better, I really hope you can sort it out. Would be very interested to hear how you get on... Good luck.

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  10. Incredible! Hope you are able to do something about it...it's a licensed design isn't it.

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  11. Disgusting, I'm used to seeing this kind of behaviour from other high street shops but had stupidly thought M&S were a little better than that. Oh dear.

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  12. That really awful i hope you get to the bottom of this and that something can be done about this. Good luck and keep us all posted

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  13. Rachael - I'm so shocked and disgusted to see this, especially from such a reputable brand like M&S. I am sure you will be doing everything you can to assert your rights as a designer and to sort this out, and I'm sure you'll be doing it in a dignified and professinal manner as ever. There's no doubt that it's a complete copy but it's disgusting and just such a shame that you have to go through it all. Sending much love to one of the most lovely and dedicated designers I know. T xx

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  14. Holy Cow Rachael! - this is one of those teaching moments - so hope and praying for you that you not only receive credit where due - and I do mean credit as in monies, but also have the company stop franchising on your wonderful talent. Do keep us in the loop!

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  15. Absolutely awful. Shame on M&S.

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  16. Shocking, it's identical. I hope you can get some compensation or reaction from M&S. As a kntiwear designer, I'm all too aware that this goes on although it hasn't happened to me yet. Good luck in fighting this violation.

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  17. very sorry to hear about this...spreading the word.

    xo juliette

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  18. This is one of those moments that all designers hope they will not have to face throughout their career. Utterly disgusted and even more shocked to see Marks And Spencers have stooped to this level of copyright theft, especially when you work so closely with their giftware department! I hope you get to resolve the matter in the exact way it needs to be dealt with :) x

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  19. It's is a blatant copy every detail is a replica of yours. Disgraceful.I will be sharing this xx

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  20. I was so surprised when I saw this T-shirt hanging in my local M&S, your designs are so recognisable that I thought you must have a deal with them, I didn't think M&S would be the kind of business who would steal a design. Little did I know… So sorry you're having to deal with this, I hope you get a full apology and compensation very soon. x

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  21. Madeleine MacMahonJuly 10, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    A friend of a friend retweeted this (so I don't know you personally) but am shocked. As other people have noted, unfortunately things sometimes happen in an untraceable manner (ie ripoffs on holiday) but for a 'reputable' brand like M&S I am, like others, shocked. I don't usually comment on the stories I read, but I'm hoping that enough people showing their disapproval will create enough of a concern that they can't ignore it!

    Good luck!

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  22. There's no way this is a coincidence... Send them a formal letter and get onto head office forthwith!

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  23. I spotted this in the window of M&S in Scarborough and immediately thought of you. Such a blatant copy, not really any way they can deny having any knowledge of stealing this design. Good luck with resolving the issue. x

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  24. unfortunately small designers are the ones that suffers the most with stolen creative ideas. Hope things get sorted for you !x

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  25. I am shocked and surprised with M&S! So sorry to hear about this Rachael, I hope you get it sorted soon. Good Luck! x

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  26. Absolutely appalling. Your design is lovely and I'm disgusted that m&s have done this.

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  27. Hi Rachel, I am so sorry to hear that your intellectual property rights are being infringed. Have you tried contacting ACID for help and advice? I interviewed the CEO of ACID on this exact issue so you may find my article helpful. You can read it here. How to Protect Your Work From Design Thieves http://bit.ly/vFhZyD I hope you manage to resolve this. Good Luck!

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  28. Hi Rachel - shocking and something we really don't expect from somewhere like M&S . I was going to suggest ACID too as a possible source of advice. Good luck and well done on standing up for yourself and your designs.

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  29. Go for it, they wont have a leg to stand on! And they reported a big profit loss today too, the last things they need is bad press. Good luck!

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  30. Blatant and outrageous! Unfortunately in this case imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. They are taking the ****! M & S should know better. If they want your designs so much they should pay for them. Hope you get it sorted soon and they do the right thing xx

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  31. I don't care what conventional wisdom says; imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery. It's just theft. Good luck to you, I hope you are able to resolve this to your satisfaction without taking away too much of your time.

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  32. I'm so sorry Rachael - shame on the designer and M&S! I hope they withdraw the products - it's shockingly similar, and from a so called reputable company it's such a terrible thing for them to have done...good luck with following it up.

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  33. Absolutely right to stand up for yourself here. Good for you. But sorry you have to endure this sort of ugly confrontation. Keep us posted on what M&S says, as they have some big explaining to do.

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  34. Hi, Rachael, how absolutely awful! That isn't even imitating...it's outright theft because the design is the same down to the line. I'm so sorry. What can we do to help?

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  35. That is just plain ugly game. I hope you'll be apologized and compensated.
    On the other hand, that's just a tribute to your brilliance.
    I'd contact a lawyer and send them a formal email.

    All the best!
    :: Marta

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  36. That is outrageous!!! I work for a supplier of high street stores(not M & S) and i have come across "lazy" designers that simply scan in others work, sell to the buyers as their own work and if the buyers don't recognise the design it goes through. Have you contacted M & S? Good luck and hope you win your fight for recognition.

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  37. Disgusting how dare they think they can rip off your design and not face repercussions, it's identical. Good luck

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  38. Disgraceful M & S. It is quite clear they've just scanned your design. Go for it - it worked for Tatty Devine.

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  39. This is disgusting, for such an established company to stoop so low is beyond words. I'd like to think they will at least attempt to show some class and do the honourable thing by you including a public apology..... Good luck! Matt

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  40. I'm glad you are standing up for yourself and for your business. Why won't companies just employ designers if they want new designs. But I am not surprised by M&S, at uni my friend did a placement there and was sent to New Designers with a camera to pinch designs. Shocking.

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  41. Contact me and I'll see if I can help www.publicityagent.co.uk

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  42. Have you spoken to anyone in TP? Maybe someone can help put you in touch with the right people at M&S to put this right?

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  43. Hi Rachael,
    I would not be at all suprised to find out that M&S, London do not know that this is a total "knock off" of your design...... they probably selected the fabric from their overseas suppliers who make up the garments. The suppliers probably copied your design (exactly by the looks of it)
    However M&S are ultimately responsible and you should demand that they take the product of the shelf or give you a fee. ..... I shall be interested to hear about the outcome.
    Best Wishes, Diane.

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    1. Was about to say the same. It is likely to be a supplier but M&S is the place to take your complaint.
      And yes, that's how the suppliers work; they buy or photograph other designs. It's not just M&S.
      Good luck x

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  44. Hopefully M&S will do the right thing once you've been in touch. You've got loads of published proof that the design is yours. Fingers crossed and good luck.

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  45. this is ridiculous.I do expect better of M&S but i'm more angry at the designer (sorry photocopier seems like a more appropriate term) who dared to put this out as there own and M&S may not have known it was a ripped off design.

    You deserve the rights for this and it has clearly been established as your design.

    good luck with gettiing the justice you deserve and its your right to stand up for your design and never give up.

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  46. I imagine they don't know either, a designer of theirs probably ripped the design off!! It's absolutely terrible though, practically identical I'd say more than strikingly similar!! You definitely need to write to/ email head office, you should be entitled to compensation for this! I too am a designer and I would be FUMING! Xx

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  47. Absolute total rip-off of your design - hope you are properly financially recompensed - I doubt M&S would want to go to court on this, so maybe an out of court settlement, but stick to your guns and don't let them intimidate you!

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  48. That is outrageous! I'm so sorry, very best of luck with fighting them, you have ACID in your corner and I hope you get the considerable compensation and apology that you deserve. I certainly won't think of M&S in the same way again

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  49. have you tried posting this up to twitter? I read a case very similar to this and the designer bombarded every one in the industry she could think of and the company had to back down. It may be difficult but I hope it works. good luck! as a fellow artist I am furious on your behalf!

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  50. Tut tut M&S. An obvious copy

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  51. Omg Rachael! Unbelievable! They didn't even bother to change a single petal! It's really outrageous! I'm so sorry... In this case is there anything you can do to make them take away your design from the market? It's exactly the same design!!! How ca you protect yourself and fight such a big colossal? It's incredible that they would do something like this, especially since you are already known and successful and your signature collection is all over the world in a wide range of products. They are jut stupid! Please let us know how you can defend yourself. Good luck in the battle! This is just so unethical and it's not fair!

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  52. Good luck hon - perservere, there's no way you can lose this one xx

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  53. So horrible. I saw the t-shirt in the Bromley store last week, I can't believe it! I thought it had to be your design. Hope you can get compensation Rachael xx

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  54. grrrrrrrr they are big enough to pay for your work. :-(

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  55. M&S How about an apology with a view to sorting this out?

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  56. What a blatant rip off, M&S obviously think they can copy and get away with it, is it because you are a small independent successful designer and they think you wont do anything about it. They deserve naming and shaming and i hope you take it all the way

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  57. Take them to court. Contact them first, and explain, but then quickly threaten to take them to the small claims court. This can force them to cease trading if they do not acknowledge your complaint, and so you pretty quickly get a good resolution, as they can't stop their business. Some of my stuff got copied and used by Wiley in their '...for dummies' books, and they were very keen to settle once I discovered what they had done!!

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  58. Awful - they must have knowingly copied it. Make a huge fuss and threaten with court action - and keep posting! I'll be boycotting M&S unless you get a good result.

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  59. So sorry to read this, Rachael! Hope you can get it sorted out swiftly. I'm sure M&S will do the right thing once they understand the situation.

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  60. We have an excellent IP specialist lawyer we could pass you the details of if you're interested. We're working with her atm.

    Just drop us a line and we can give you her name.

    So sorry this has happened!

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  61. Wont be shopping at M and bloody S

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  62. I agree no shopping at M and S , they have a cheek

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  63. That looks EXACTLY the same. Hope you have the strength to fight them and get what you're entitled to!
    Good luck lovely x x

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  64. They definately owe you now! Makes me worry too! Hope they pay you a proper license fee and compensation for the outrageous thieving!

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  65. Hi Rachael,

    This is terrible for you and so scary that this keeps happening to designers at the moment. I assume as many have said that the buyer was unaware that the design had been copied and they will probably be hugely embarrassed. Hopefully this will all be sorted out quickly for you. As a recent graduate of the ABSPD course obviously this area was discussed (the idea of being overly influenced by someone) and I can't believe there are lazy designers out there who blatantly rip people off like this. I was designing something the other day that had the tiniest feel of something you might create in the line style. However I loved a particular motif and continued to re-work the designs up to 10 times and ended up creating a brand new original design that had me and my style written all over it. So there is just no excuse for this!

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  66. Kate Davies, knitwear designer has had the same problem this week with Debenhams (see lots of tweets from @wazzag and her blog "Needled" at http://katedaviesdesigns.com/ ) Maybe the two of you could compare notes?

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  67. I'm staggered at this blatant copying. I had a situation on Twitter the other day when an Indian model stole my tweet verbatim, RTed it as her own and managed to get into all of the major Indian newspapers with it. I brought it to the attention of the newspapers and the model herself and got no response at all, not even an apology. I hope M&S treat you and your intellectual property with more respect.

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  68. Definitely a copy! Please keep us informed on how this is dealt with by M&S.

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  69. This is outrageous and very sad to see that such a big brand has so little respect for designers. Thanks for sharing, hope your work gets recognised.

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  70. I really hope this was not intentional on their part (and perhaps sold to them thru an overseas distributor, etc) and I especially hope you get to the bottom of this and are compensated. Please let us know!

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  71. Send a cease and desist letter requesting the removal of all items matching your design. Get legal advise can can can recommend www.harbottle.com

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  72. This is shocking. How they think they can get away with is unbelievable. I hope you get the compensation and apology that you clearly deserve.

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  73. It's impossible to know M&S' intentions if a third party supplier was involved, as is probably the case. However this is clearly a rip off and let's hope M&S display some sensible conduct in rectifying things.

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  74. If I were you I would contact DACS (the Design and Artists Copyright Society) http://www.dacs.org.uk/ straight away to seek advice, and then I would email this blog post to a solicitor specialising in copyright and intellectual property rights (or maybe to a few, to see who can offer you the best value for money!)

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  75. That's a complete disgrace, especially from a company that shouts so loud about being socially responsible! What is responsible about blatantly ripping off an individual designer?

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  76. GRRR this has made me angry! Ive recently come back from New Designers and there was a guy there looking at my work, and a friend over heard him say that he would copy and rip my work off! I was very disheartened and hope he doesnt! I hope you get this sorted Rachael its appaulling!

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  77. This is quite clearly an infringement of your copyright and you must seek legal advice. A good start (and free as well) would be visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau and they can offer more detailed advice.
    I've heard that Judges tend to lean towards the individual designer (like you) as opposed to the large organisation (M&S) when cases like this go to court, especially when there is such an obvious breach of copyright, so try to stay optimistic about this and I'm sure it will get sorted out. Good luck!

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  78. I would say you more than have a point here! Have you contacted M&S - they may not be aware - design may have been submitted to them and then approved.

    I would think you would have legal counsel by now, but if not, do get some and then 'your people can talk to their people' and get it sorted out.

    Best of luck - do let us know the outcome!

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  79. They could have at least used such a beautiful ripped off print on a well designed piece of clothing!!

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  80. Very Sorry! Hope you can do something about it! I can relate a lot, remembering when I my friend called me when she found my ceramic designs made out of resin in a local store! They removed them as requested by my lawyer! I think you have to request the same!

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  81. This isn't just similar it's identical! Good luck!i hope you get some sort of result! Shame on M and S! I agree with one of the other comments! Post on twitter!

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  82. Shame on Marks and Spencer! I certainly hope an appointment with an excellent attorney on your schedule.

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  83. Geez Rachael, it IS identical! All of their loops are identical to yours! I've worked in the jewelry industry for 25 years, and sadly have seen this happen all the time. And it usually stems from a buyer liking the look, buying a sample of your tea towels, and sending it to a factory overseas to be copied. They don't care, disgusting as it sounds, they just want to make themselves look good to their superiors and sell stuff. I've worked in factories in China, and no one bats an eye as far as copyright infringement. They used to tell me "It's a compliment when we copy your work. It means we really like it, you should be happy about this". I've seen it happen at major companies in the U.S. as well. Hope action can be taken against who is responsible. Can A.C.I.D. help at all with this?

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  84. Hi Rachel. I hope that any legal action you take will at least encourage Marks and Spencer to remove these from their stores. I dont normally shop in M and S, but if this is what they normally do, then perhaps it is no surprise that their recent sales slump in womens fashion has hit the headlines: If they have to copy individual designers, rather than create original work of their own...

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  85. Rachael, one huge infringement that tells a lot about the policy of a company. They buy stuff without knowing its origin. Hope ACID helps you, hope you get all well deserved compensation and hope this case teaches M&S and other retailers to learn how to do business properly.

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  86. I am truly shocked Rachael. Especially in light of all your involvement with Tigerprint ( not that I am assuming they have anything to do with this - do they?!)
    You have a clear case. Go get em.

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  87. Lending my support, this is a blatant rip-off (as is the Debenhams' stealing of Kate Dvaies Owl Sweater design) and this sort of thing needs a kick in the bum, and stopping. M and S can buy in their own designers, they should not be stealing someone else's work. I hope you get redress for this. I am sick of big multi-nationals taking the p*ss out of the small designers........... Fran

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  88. Sad to see Marks and Spencers doing this, as said above, something needs to be done about this, too many designers are having their work stolen by these High Street chains. I hope you get some recompence from them.

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  89. As a photographer I know how it feels to have your work copied/stolen and used elsewhere. It sucks. :( I think you should take legal advice for sure. In the meantime, as a disappointed M&S customer I have posted the link on their Facebook page and asked that HQ have a read and rectify the situation...

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  90. Fight this all the way Rachael! They might be a "British Institution" but M&S are no better than any other chain selling mass produced products - we're all behind you, give 'em hell!

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  91. Awful! And all too common. I'm a recent graduate and our college had a stand at New Designers this year. Whilst 99% of people visiting the stand were genuine, it was overheard that the MD from one company was quite happily going to 'rip' our designs off. You have to be so careful who you speak to, and who you trust. M&S may have bought that pattern from someone else who's ripped you off!

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  92. This is terribly disappointing to see and it's an exact copy of your design. I would expect better from M&S so, I hope they take note, apologise and compensate you accordingly. And think twice before doing it again!

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  93. Quite shocking!!!! I hope the m&s products are removed from sale. m&s would take action if the tables were turned! Good luck with your fight!

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  94. M & S will have to back down over this one - it's blatant. Only sorry that you have to spend time sorting it all out - I hope you are handsomely recompensed.

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  95. They may as well have traced it! Terrible to think M&S would stoop so low. Doesn't give us designers any confidence in being able to protect our work does it. We're not charities giving away work for free you know!! My old boss always said it was the biggest form of flattery - I say if you have to resort to copying, you can't be a very good designer! I'm sure you'll get it sorted out - they can't get away with that one! xx

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  96. Rachel, I know a very good lawyer specialising in intellectual property rights. You can contact me on Facebook [Steve Stickley / Nottingham]

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  97. This is awful ! I hope you get it sorted out soon Xx

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  98. Seems its not the first time M&S have done this kind of thing http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/2007/07/28/when-s-a-copy-not-a-copy-86908-19533686/

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  99. M&S won't necessarily be aware. They can't know every design ever produced. What has happened is some nasty little designer has decided to further their own career by stealing, and M&S should be told what sort of person they have hired...

    I agree with the person above who suggested you send them an invoice.

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  100. Totally at a loss for words! My god, that is utterly disgraceful! I really hope you get it sorted soon, I for one am not shopping at M&S anymore!

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  101. shocked! Truly hope it all gets resolved x

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  102. Blatant rip-off & M&S ARE responsible. If they accept designs from outside sources it's up to M&S to ensure that they are covered legally.

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  103. Not very good of M&S at all. You should write to Kate Bostock at M&S and request that all product featuring this design is taken off the shop floor and website as well as some compensation. In all fairness it is probably the supplier who copied you and M&S may well not be aware of this.

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  104. Everyone tweet about this, I am sure it will have an effect. I am going to do it now... with a link to this blog post.

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  105. A very blatant copy and not a subtly lifted inspirational design Rachael. I sincerely hope that M&S name and shame the 'designer' and remove the garments from all stores. Can ACID help you Rachael? Alison x

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  106. Chrissie Probert JonesJuly 11, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Solidarity from doodle by stitch - total IP theft. Could well be unwitting by the people at M&S here but that is no excuse for not having a sourcing policy that involves checking IP. Go for substantial design fee plus royalties on every item: M&S will need to disclose sales volumes to you. I'm sure ACID will have lawyers to suggest. Best of luck and keep us informed!

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  107. I agree, it's probably an unscrupulous designer who purloined your design, being too lazy, stupid and unethical to use their own idea, I suspect the big cheeses at M+S didn't know. HOWEVER, as they have used it on absolutely dozens of lines I would think you should be in line to receive a MASSIVE chunk of "royalty" payments, it would appear they like it so much and it's certainly popular. So sue their arses and also deman royalties on everything made and sold up to date.

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  108. It is copyright infringement, but just check your licences to ensure that nobody you licensed to was either a subsidiary of the M&S brand or that anyone could sub-license to them. Else you will have nothing to go on. If those situations aren't the case, I'd suggest you instruct a solicitor as this is unacceptable and they should have approached you for a licence to use. It's unlikely to end in court as you are (by all accounts) the strongest party, so you'd probably end up with a settlement offer, but seek legal advice as I'm not a lawyer :-)

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  109. Has anyone posted this on M&S Facebook page? I just have and will be interested to hear their response to it - couldn't see much else on there about it.

    I hope M&S will not be selective about what stays up there, this is worthy of open two-way enquiry and conversation.

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  110. Good grief, that isn't "strikingly similar" that is simple theft! Get yourself a lawyer!

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  111. Blatant copy of your design...can't see they have any excuse for not removing items from sale & offering full apology!

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  112. Man that really sucks, especially coming from a company who are aiming to be the most ethical on the British high street.

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  113. This stinks, M&S hang your head in shame...

    As a photographer my images are regularly pinched by magazines and websites, uncredited, which is frustrating. I even found one company selling prints of my work in the US.

    I agree with the IP lawyer suggestion, maybe join the FSB(small fee, good legal advice) and use ACID in a similar way...

    Good luck - grumpy tweet to follow shortly!

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  114. That's absolutely outrageous Rachael. It's definitely a copy. I hope you'll find the power of the community will bring this to a quick halt with apologies and compensation. The last time I saw this happen (culprit Claire's Accessories) they had to appear on Watchdog. It was satisfying to see the designer vindicated.

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  115. Sue for copyright infringement. They're earning off your work and you're entitled to seek damages. Obviously find the best solicitor you can, but the reality is, ANY solicitor should be able to have a field day with this.

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  116. Wow!!! That's the most unsubtle copy !!! Shame on M&S. I hope they get what they deserve

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  117. That is shocking, though all I will say is that its probably one person's bad decision rather than the company overall, that single individual is the one responsible rather than a whole company themselves, and I would like to think that if it were pointed out to them that M&S would do the decent thing. On a flip side though, I LOVE your wallpaper..... I might need that....

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  118. You have my support, I hope you get on ok. These legal things are very tricky and they may get out of it somehow...pass the buck to a supplier etc? Good luck fight the good fight if you can!

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  119. Terrible to copy you and they've been quite cute to alter it slightly by angling it and making it closer together. I hope you get help to achieve a public apology in stores and in the national press, as well as royalties from all sales. Perhaps they could be intelligent next time and hire your services rather than copying you.

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  120. Rachael, before you do anything, read the following article:

    http://www.epuk.org/Opinion/994/stolen-photographs-what-to-do

    Photographers get ripped off more often than any other image makers, so take their advice on the best way to deal with this sort of thing.

    Note the following important point: "the first contact that you have with an infringer is very important – it sets the expectations for the amount of the claim, and if done badly it can severely limit your options before you have had a chance to get any legal advice."

    HTH

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  121. Rachel you have to do something about this- you will have a lot of support

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  122. Speechless...I am so sorry to read that. Good luck with sorting it out - I hope they will pay you a good amount of money for their mistake. x Maike

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  123. bit of a rip off alright but I've often thought a lot of M&S clothes look like dish cloths.

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  124. This is outrageous and completely out of line. Hit 'em hard and good luck.

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  125. This is shocking even more so since you already design for them through Tigerprint.

    I hope you get this resolved sucessfully.

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  126. good luck getting this sorted out. xx

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  127. Disgraceful - I'm spreading the word on twitter - @mandspress is their press relations x

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  128. You know, I was in M&S just a few weeks ago and saw one of these tops and immediately felt really pleased for you, because to me it was clearly your design. It's awful that this has been done without your consent. I'm sure you'll be able to sort this out with them (being the massive brand that they are, I'm sure they'll want a swift and amicable resolution, and not something that could be a huge dent in their image in the press) but am honestly shocked that they tried to pull this off in the first place.
    I hope it doesn't become too much of a headache for you to resolve.

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  129. That's theft... no ifs, no buts. Go for it. Good luck

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  130. You'll have bang to rights on IPR - just get a solicitor on it. Cut and dried case - been there myself a few times!

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  131. No Flipping way! Just heard on radio that M&S are not doing well at the moment. Quite frankly they don't deserve to! If I had seen that in the shop I would have assumed it was your instantly.

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  132. Rachael shocked and highly disappointed is an understatement! How and Why did M&S allow this to happen is beyond belief!

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  133. I'm amazed by the audacity of M&S. I had been running a few of their ads on a couple of my blogs but since reading about this (alerted by Twitter) I have removed myself from my affiliation with them today as a (small) gesture of support to you. I hope that you are successful in action against them for this blatant rip-off of your lovely design.

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  134. Clear infringement of copyright.

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  135. This is really disgraceful, and I will be RT-ing it - good luck and I hope that M & S do the right thing and either recognise, credit and pay you as the designer or stop using and selling your design immediately.

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  136. Hi Rachael
    As an ex-fashion retail buyer, and having trained with M&S as a graduate, I would advise that you firstly contact their P.R. department and make then aware of this issue, referring them to your blog to see the evidence. Having been made aware of it, they should them refer it onwards; however you should also seek to get the contact details of either the buyer for that product area (Womenswear Jersey department I'm guessing) or the Buying Manager/Buying Director and follow this route also. The majority of clothing products produced for M&S are sourced via their supplier base, so M&S may not even be aware that this is your design and that their has been an infringement, as the product will have been developed for them by one of their suppliers. I'm sure, however, if you get onto this straight away and flag it up with them, they should act upon it, as they do not take this type of issue lightly!

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  137. This is shocking. You're doing the right thing in standing up for yourself. I'd consult a solicitor right away!

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  138. Absolute Disgrace, they should be ashamed. Unbelievable.

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  139. Shame on M and S and others like Debenhams. They can well afford to negotiate the rights to use this and other people's designs and should be ashamed of themselves for ripping off such fine talent!

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  140. Oh, for goodness sakes, look at you all with your witch hunt attitudes? Rachael, obviously they are the same design but did you first inquire with M&S about if they even know about the situation? Think, someone else could have gone to M&S with your design and they have no idea about this. Perhaps given this information they can address the issue? If they know about the situation, what is their stance on the matter? Are they saying that it's not the same design, that they have permission already etc? Rather than throwing it out there, go speak with them. From what I gather you have worked with M&S before? If that is the case, they might already have some belief that they can use this design? But, from what I can tell...this just looks like a big stir up and not constructive.

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    1. Yes, agree. Big corporates usually have minions as lookouts who don't know the difference between copying and research. Best to talk with M&S. If you have worked with them before it makes sense that they might have come across your work in their 'records' and someone just put it out there without checking. Best to talk to them first before consulting lawyers.

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  141. This is terrible!!! Something has to be done about this!!!

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  142. I don't know whether you're a member of ACID (Anti Copying In Design www.acid.uk.com)but they campaign on behalf of designers on this very issue. It would be well worth you getting in touch with them if you haven't done so already - all the very best, a nightmare when this happens.

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  143. I would kill for a job doing this kind of thing for a company like M&S! Why would someone with such a great job stoop so low and rip off a fellow creative!? Especially when Tesco did the same thing recently. Makes me sick. Chin up Rachel, hope you go after the bastards!

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  144. I know that paperchase does the exact same thing, stole one of my friend's designs exactly from her grad show. No compensation despite it now being their no 1 selling line #thievingscum

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  145. Look at all the support here Rachael, there's no doubt it's a rip off. Some people just have no scruples, and stoop to do the lowest things! Wishing you all the best in sorting out this issue, as this design was one of your founding images! Good luck Rachael :)

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  146. My daughter and I saw the T-shirts in M & S in Kent and we both said 'Oh, Rachael must now have her designs on clothing...' and we thought, that's great news for her. Turns out it isn't and they have fraudulently stolen your design. It is disgusting and happening too often now. Hope you get it sorted out speedily and not at your expense!

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  147. I saw the top the other week in Marks in Camberley and knowing your designs I did a double take. Presumed very wrongly that they had maybe bought the rights off you. Hope you get soemthing sorted with M&S.
    Vx

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  148. I would have thought you'd have an excellent case to fight this Rachael, as you have lots of documented and published evidence that it's your design.

    I do agree that it's possible they don't know, although really when presented with a new design, they ought to ask for evidence of its origin...

    Hope you get it sorted.

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  149. Off to court you go...


    blatant theft..and don't forget..mental anguish..

    M & S should also sack their lazy designer..

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  150. That is absolutely disgusting!!! M&S Designers you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!!

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  151. The pattern is an exact copy. It's blatantly obvious when looked at it in detail. Shame on you, M&S.

    Rachel, I hope you at the very least 100% of the profits from all copied M&S t-shirts. And a public apology.

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  152. You should talk to lawyers at Gateley UK. I had this happen to me but back when I wasn't so established and had no proof and it could have been subconscious copying or a coincidence. This most definitely isn't anything other than blatant copying.

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  153. M&S do the right thing and withdraw the design http://www.drapersonline.com/ms-withdraws-t-shirt-after-copycat-claims/5038555.article?blocktitle=More-News&contentID=5806

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  154. This is awful!!! You expect better from M&S! I hope you get it sorted Rach!

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  155. I haven't read all the many comments above, but I just wanted to say, you CAN take on the 'big boys' and win... I remember seeing on tv a while ago how Claire's Accessories (I think.. ) did some dinosaur bone necklaces which were a copy of some done by a small, independent jeweller. They took on the chain of stores and won! So, I hope you are in a position to take some legal advice. Good luck!! x x

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  156. I would say that is actionable. I hope you pursue it. And a good social media campaign won't hurt either. I will be happy to forward. It is a lovely design and you deserve the royalties. Shame on them.

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  157. http://www.drapersonline.com/designers/ms-withdraws-t-shirt-after-copycat-claims/5038555.article?referrer=RSS&utm_source=a.%091%26WT.tsrc%3Dtwitter%26WT.mc_id%3Dtwitter_twitterfeed_news

    Apologies for the lengthy link - but is this your design they're talking about here?
    Sarah

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  158. Cannot believe Marks & Spencers would do this!!! Such a blatant copy of your iconic design.
    You have such a clear cut case Rachael and you have so many people behind you.
    I hope this is resolved soon. I love your design and they can't get away with pinching it.
    Shame on the high street again for stealing designs from independent design talent!

    Best of luck.

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  159. I am shocked...I love your design and you should be able to protect again this... It has so obviously been stolen. you really should sue....no doubt about it. Shame on them....its is disgraceful.

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  160. To be fair to M&S, I expect they've been let down by a supplier who has signed to say the work is original...when it isn't.

    Looking at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/d-needreg.htm it would appear that your work would be covered as an Unregistered Community Design (assuming you've not registered it). As you say that you first used it in 2008, it would appear to be more than 3 years old, so out of protection. If you registered it in 2008 then they are infringing.

    Have you approached M&S about this? While it is clearly a copy, I'm not sure you've got any legal grounds - I'd check where you stand before spending money on solicitors.

    The term "Intellectual Property" can be unhelpful in this sort of situation, as it conflates a lot of different types of protection: copyright; design right; trademarks; patents among others. You need to be clear of the specific right which has been infringed before taking this further.

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    Replies
    1. It's covered by UK copyright, which lasts a lot longer than three years :)

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  161. Rachel, speak to Robert Lands at solicitors Finers Stevens Innocent in Gt Portland St - he specialises in exactly this kind of thing. Tell him that Renée Wallen (me!) told you to call. I can also recommend an accountant who specialises in fashion/fabric design who can advise you on all aspects of your business. Email me if you're interested and I'll put you in touch - Ren@imaginativetraining.com

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  162. I cannot believe that Marks and Spencers have risked a similar thing. The flower is identical (even the scale) the stem has had the curly bit cut out. It is really shocking and a great mistake on their part. I hope you do something about it.
    Dawn

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  163. This is an OUTRAGE! What can I do to help? Will share on FB now but happy to back you up on this if it helps.

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  164. So sorry to see this Rachael, don't let it put you down. Take appropriate action, and keep designing your beautiful work...

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  165. disgusting. I have shared.
    I have no idea how they think they can get away with this. I know in reality they can do what they want, but morally. Nobody respects this kind of thing.

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  166. It is disgraceful. Iv noticed your with ACID, cant they do something about it?

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  167. Blatant theft!Its exactly the same. good luck getting it sorted out.

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  168. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  169. Well you can either sue them for copyright infringement or make them pay you royalties

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  170. FYI M&S just (finally) responded to those of us who posted your blog post to their FB wall:

    "we're sorry for any disappointment caused to Rachael Taylor from the sale of a t-shirt - we bought it in good faith from a direct supplier. After investigating the complaint we immediately withdrew the product from sale. Thanks, Dean"

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  171. I doubt this was a board decision.

    Most probably your design was ripped off by some lowly idiot. Negotiate with M&S to licence your work, and for payment of past royalties.

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  172. Drapers are now reporting the same thing:
    http://www.drapersonline.com/ms-withdraws-t-shirt-after-copycat-claims/5038555.article?blocktitle=More-News&contentID=5806

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  173. I would definitely ask them if they would like to licence your work as they obviously like it! Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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  174. Thats terrible :-( I'm glad you're a 'fight for your rights' kinda person, they shouldn't be able to do this. Good luck getting things sorted! X

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  175. I'd imagine M&S had no idea that this wasn't an original design made for them, and wouldn't have known that this was your design. I'm delighted to hear reports that they have withdrawn this tshirt from their range, I hope that is true! Good wishes, Rachael, for getting a good result. I don't know you but am a big supporter of UK designers and hate seeing cases like this - Tatty Devine got their case resolved and I hope you do too.

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  176. The number for Robert the solicitor is 0207 344 7664 - I've said you might be getting in touch - he has handled cases against M&S before. Good luck :)

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  177. this is terrible, and I hope it is correct that M&S have withdrawn the design. Such a blatant example of what happens with designs all the time, and thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention... as someone suggests, maybe this is the way to get your work licensed by M&S! Good luck sorting it all out.

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  178. That's crazy! I can't believe the designers thought they could do such a thing, or that they would need to?! You'd think they would employ talented designers with their own creative minds....weird!

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  179. I am really shocked, I thought M&S were better than this, obviously not. As a (now potentially former) good customer of theirs, I hope that they will clean up their act and set up a proper contract with you. This sort of design theft is all too common. I wish you well in your dealings with them...

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  180. OMG, appalling! It's not even a similar design it is the SAME design. I agree, get some legal advice and if solicitors look expensive then try the media. Designers need to stand up and protect their work otherwise these big firms will run rough-shod over them. Good luck, x

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  181. I have a little design business and had myself and business partner were forced to sue Tesco for exactly the same sort of copyright infringement.
    Once your design is in production, it is automatically copyrighted. You have a watertight case that will cost you to pursue it - but we did and found a solicitor willing to fight it on no win, no fee.
    In the end, we were offered a substantial settlement on the eve of it going in front of a copyright judge at High Court and Tesco had to withdraw and surrender all stock. Very satisfactory...
    ...and we got a nice (hard earned) holiday out of it!

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  182. This is a disgrace Rachel. Surface pattern designers, artists and every independent in the industry work tirelessly to develop their own brand and unique'ness.

    This is a blatant example of a big corporate (who is continually on the pr wagon championing itself as a responsible business) disregarding the law to its own end. No responsibility and certainly no integrity. Also their tweets that try to pass the blame onto the supply chain echos the fact they cannot even admit where they have failed operationally and morally.

    I hope they compensate you and this is a lesson for them - for the sake of everyone in the industry. Or else I gather M&S will continue to take advantage of others in pursuit of the bottom line.

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  183. Good for you Rachael - we've been tweeting all day in support. Hope you get a satisfactory result from it. Keith at Mini Moderns

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  184. This is so unfortunate. I'm quite sorry you've had to endure this, Rachel. I'm a U.S. attorney working in small business law, and yesterday I ran a blog post about Kate Davies, who is currently dealing with a similar situation. I hope everything is settled in your favor!

    "Crafts, Cats, and Copyright Infringement: Kate Davies' Knitting Knot and Protecting Your Creativity" http://wp.me/pAWNE-8N

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  185. Someone's in big trouble here, no question about it. Disgusting behaviour, please publicise this and write to Newspapers etc, go for all you can get. I'm a pattern designer too - this is absolutely not on - poor you.

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  186. Sorry to hear your designes are being copied. I get this happning a lot to me by bigger artist , and beause they are better known they get more exposure and it looks like their work. it's so, so unfair.
    Your work is beautiful. keep on making!
    from ArtYarn. x

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  187. I worked for M&S many years ago in their head office in various buying departments. This not a new practise but neither was ever as blatant either. It's probably a design submitted from a supplier and no one has done the homework at M&S to check its not a exact copy. Contact their legal dept....you might find you are given the offer as a consultant as a sweetener !

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  188. I would go to the press - shame them into action - morning TV would love something like this. Can't believe people are so shameless - it's not even a copy it's identical!

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  189. Somebody tipped off the Daily Mail. That's some great exposure for you Rachael... ;) //

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2172055/Designer-accuses-Marks-amp-Spencer-stealing-work-sold-clothes-strikingly-similar-flower-print-hand-drawn-designs.html

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  190. Give them a chance to put it right before launching into the litigation. You might win some friends in the purchasing department and use this as an opportunity to expand your business, reach a bigger market and get your work more widely recognised. It is probably not M&S who have set out to rip you off, but one of their suppliers, so give them a chance. If you launch into legal action without approaching them first you might be reducing your chances of gaining some useful business.

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  191. saw this link on frontcover cosmetics facebook page as they are dealing with similar problems, can't these huge companies come up with their own ideas? Glad the problem is getting some exposure and you get it sorted

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