(Edited – two hours after I posted this on our site, and Facebook, they pulled the product off her site)
(I decided to remove their name because they co-operated)
Seems I am spending more and more time lately policing our designs. For those of you in the design world, you probably know it’s an epidemic. There are those who design, and those who just knockoff. Our most copied design is the A Frame table. And the latest company to be selling these knockoffs is (Name Deleted). I shot an email off to the company today and surprisingly got a quick response from them. They claim she’s not knocking off our designs, it’s the manufacturer. She just resells imports and is not responsible. And I should go after them, not her.
Now this is interesting logic! So using their logic, I can buy stolen property. I didn’t steal it, somebody else did, so it’s ok. Or underage drinking is ok if an adult bought it for them. So if somebody else breaks the rules, or does the unethical deed, it’s ok for you to participate as long as you didn’t start it.
She goes on to mention that I didn’t protect my design, which is true. It’s more an ethical dilemma. And her ethics are definitely not the same as mine.
Last month I saw an ad on Facebook for an A Frame knockoff from Dot & Bo (the exact table They ares selling). After a few emails back and forth, they graciously pulled the table from their line restoring my faith in humanity. Here’s the email which is worth reading!
Hi there Greg,
Just sent word to our team to remove the table from the site. We wanted to let you know that the change will go in effect shortly and we are strong supporters of businesses like yours who bring design and manufacturing back stateside. We wish you well in your work and appreciate you making us aware of this.
Any further questions, just let me know. Thanks so much and take care,
Quincy Roth – PR & Social Media Associate
Is that great or what? Practically every company that I’ve contacted like this has removed the product. That is until I contacted (Name Deleted). Here’s the transcript of our conversation today (10/7/2014):
Message From firstname.lastname@example.org:
This design that you are selling is a ripoff, or copy of My original A Frame design that I came up with 4 years ago. My company has been selling them ever since and it looks like you are selling a Chinese or Indian made copy. I would appreciate it if you would either note this is a COPY of my design, or take it off your site. You can look us up at www.retro.net and our company name is Vintage Industrial, LLC.
Thank you for reaching out. We appreciate your concern – however we buy these from our supplier based in the UK called Andrew Martin. We are their exclusive US online retailers.
However, upon viewing your work, we would also love the carry your items – we have over 40K visitors to our site monthly, and I believe we would do well with your product assortment in our Industrial Loft collection.
Please kindly advise your interest and we look forward to next steps?
Hi (Name Deleted),
Ok, (Name Deleted) sources his stuff from Asia. There are several Asian companies ripping our A Frame design off. So you’re saying you can’t pull the product because you buy them from somebody else?
We don’t have a wholesale program yet as we sell direct. We do offer a trade discount though > https://www.retro.net/trade-pricing/
We do not have a wholesale agreement with you so we are not going to
pull any products – if you have any design related patents – you will
need to take up with Andrew Martin – though having been designers, and
been in the industry as long as we have – you’ll realize that
intellectual property as it comes to design is very hard to protect.
If you ever have a wholesale agreement – we would be interested in
working with you.
If somebody was selling a Chinese knockoff of your original design, would you do business with them?
And do you mind if I make this public that you’re selling knockoffs of my design?
Greg HankersonSent from my iPhone
(From (Name Deleted))You need to take this up with Andrew Martin. We will no longer be responding to your inquires.
Can you believe she has the gall to try to partner up with us, with her company being the sole importer of that product in the the states? And she denies any responsibility in this act. Well I thought this was pretty sad. So I thought I’d bring it to light since we have a MUCH bigger following than her. And it helps me to get it out of my system! Next step, put this on Facebook, chat with the PR team, may send a newsletter out. Thanks for listening, and please feel free to comment below! Or better yet, go to this page and click the “(Link Deleted)” button to let (Name Deleted) know what you think. (Link Deleted)