Knockoff Artists: How Design Copycats Flaunt Design Copyright

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It's a design industry problem that was described by the New York Times as being “as irritating to furniture manufacturers as lice are to elementary school parents: a perennial problem and devilishly hard to eradicate.” The problem is knockoffs: copying a designer's product and often selling it for far less. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Restoration Hardware was offering a too-close-for-comfort take on Emeco’s Navy Chair, which they even had the audacity to name the Naval Chair. The chair was taken off the market, and Emeco filed a suit against the company. Can designers protect themselves from such flagrant fakery? Marissa Gluck, a Los Angeles-based consultant with Radar Research, explains the complexities of design copyright.

Top image: Emeco's Navy Chair on the left, Restoration Hardware's Naval Chair on the right, via UnBeige