The battle continues for Australian designers to have their rights upheld when it comes to design protection. Australia is perhaps the worst country for intellectual infringement and the rage I feel day to day sure does get the blood boiling.
In the latest chapter a Melbourne business has been replicating Hunt designs through their Chinese manufacturers and selling them as their own. I stumbled across this disgusting rip off in a local Adelaide design shop. The good part about seeing this rip off in the Adelaide shop was the retailer knew it was a rip off and smugly admitted to the fact.
Clenched jaw and furrowed brow I called the Melbourne retailer who claimed they had come up with the design independently and boasted about the fact that there was little protection for Hunt designs so a challenge was futile. In an attempt to keep the conversation going I poked the beast until the beans where spilt.
They admitted to attending an Australia design fair where they saw my product and took information. Then a little over 4 months later their 'version' was released - but they came up with it independently?
I challenged them in regards to other products they were selling which I thought were rip offs of another furniture maker out of LA. This accusation was met with a firm and what sounded like a genuine justification. "we buy direct from said LA business and they allow us to make a few changes and sell them under our brand. Although unlikely I placed that issue in the follow up pile.
Following up with the LA business they already knew about this company and described the constant battle as tiresome.
This situation is all too familiar in Australia. Everyone passes the buck and no one feels responsible for destroying design in Australia . We need a legislative change that holds both manufacturer and retailer of 'replicas' to account and we need it now.
You can do your part by being a conscious design consumer. There are always authentic design options within all price points. Many of the replicas are not much cheaper then genuine design. Local small businesses take years and years to build and as soon as they create a bread and butter product it's snapped up by the vultures leaving a small business with the real prospect of laying off staff or worse.
Let us joint forces in stomping out Australia's addiction to replicas. Let's give the Australia's design industry the support it needs.
GET REAL - BUY REAL - SUPPLY REAL