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Spot the Difference

Imitation isn't flattery if it costs you your business!

Inspirational or Blatant Copying?

Spot the difference between these original and copied designs

In our Spot the Difference gallery, we’ve showcased our members’ stories of senseless design theft, highlighting examples of original design and the legal cases that have ensued from blatant copies. For too long designers have felt helpless against copyists, especially if they are big companies because design law is so complex. We want you to send us your examples which we will carefully consider adding to this site to raise awareness about the increasing number of lookalikes appearing in the marketplace and highlight through social media for you to judge. Below is a very small sample of some of case studies, only a very few reached a final Court hearing.

Studio William Cutlery MEPRA S.p.A

Studio William Cutlery

Despite denying liability, Mepra S.p.A paid Anti Copying in Design (ACID) member Studio William Cutlery / William Welch Designs an undisclosed, but substantial sum and settlement figure, for damages and costs. They also destroyed the remaining stock and the relevant tooling to make the “lookalikes” in the presence of a notary public. This followed a discovery during 2023, by Studio William when they were horrified to find what they believed were a blatant set of infringements by Mepra S.p.A who appeared to be selling what some would say were “direct replicas” of several designs in its “Grove” range at an international trade fair.

Read the full article here.

Simone Brewster Swoon Editions

Simone Brewster

When freelance furniture designer Simone Brewster designed a cabinet for Swoon, she didn’t hear anything back so naturally assumed that Swoon Editions were not going to use her designs. However, when she discovered that Swoon had, not only used her designs without permission, but had put them into production and were actively marketing them, she got angry. Brewster instructed lawyers but the first offer from Swoon would not even have covered her legal fees. So, as many SME designers now do, she decided she had to make the design community know about the unfairness and ask their opinion. In a resounding social media response which went viral, Swoon Editions stepped up to the mark and apologised unreservedly. Read the full article here.

Em Royston, Chasing Threads

Em Royston, Designer, Creator and Owner of Chasing Threads says in her latest blog, “Coping with Copycats – It’s probably every designer’s biggest fear… Being sent a link to a product that looks oh so very familiar but is just all wrong. The screen shows you a design you’ve looked at a million times, but there are slight differences, and you know something is not right: Someone has stolen your idea, replicated it, and is passing it off as their own.”

Many ACID members will remember we featured Em Royston of Chasing Threads in a recent ACID member focus here. No stranger to her innovative designs being ripped off, we also shared information about a successful take down of a knock off design on Etsy here. Em’s troubles are not over and it makes sad reading to hear her latest debacle.

Jess Linklater, Robe de Voyage

Global retailer COS (owned by H & M) recently engaged in alternative dispute resolution in the form of a mediation with ACID member and fashion designer Jess Linklater of Robe de Voyage. Despite COS not admitting liability, Linklater is content with the settlement. A strict condition of the mediation agreement was that the terms of settlement remain confidential. Read the full article here.

Old English Company Ltd

Anti Copying In Design (A©ID) members Old English Company Ltd, who design and manufacture a range of high-quality bespoke giftware items, has successfully resolved a copyright infringement dispute against national supermarket chain Morrisons over the sale of infringing designs printed on mugs. Old English Company were assisted by ACID’s legal affiliate, McDaniels Law. Despite not admitting liability, Morrisons and Old English reached a settlement, the terms of which are confidential. Read the full article here.

Table Art

An Intellectual Property dispute was settled in Small Claims Court resulting in Royal Armouries paying £5000 to ACID member Table Art after an infringement of their tall mirror ball and frosted Christmas tree table centrepieces. Read the full article here.

Shoeless Joe Ltd

A Letter Before Action (LBA) results in another IP infringement success story for ACID Member Shoeless Joe Ltd after a multitude of products are copied by giftware company Kandy Toys. Read more about the story here.

Whyte Bikes

Rich Energy’s un-authorised use of Whyte Bikes Logo ended following a court battle and victory for the award-winning British bicycle brand. Read more about the story here.



Following a high-profile BBC (50.12) exposé of cheap look-alike baby bags being sold by supermarket chain ALDI, remarkably similar to those designed by ACID member BabaBing, Aldi’s lawyers announced they would no longer be selling them, but without admitting liability. Read more here.

Talking Tables

Amongst numerous copies on the market ACID Member Talking Tables took successful action against BM Retail over their trademarked Prosecco Pong games.


ACID Member Bumpsters found the retailer Mamas & Papas stocking a remarkably similar cot bumper design.  Read the article on the ACID Newsdesk

Do these stories sound familiar?
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