Chasing Threads v Bangkok Handcraft
Anti Copying in Design member Em Royston recently found copies of her brand Chasing Threads (under company Maid In China Ltd) best-selling item – the Stitch Passport Cover – on Etsy. She was outraged that the copied product listing even had her text copied word for word. Fortunately, after informing Etsy, the offending listing was removed overnight.
Em Royston wanted to share her experience with others who have experienced online infringement and said, “I am pleased that Etsy responded so quickly as it was quite shocking and upsetting to stumble across! Luckily, knowing I had the design lodged on the ACID IP Databank gave me the confidence to challenge the listing with Etsy as an infringement of my intellectual property.
Dids Macdonald, OBE., CEO of ACID said, “I am delighted that Etsy demonstrated an immediate response to Em’s complaint through the intellectual property infringement report and this will give confidence to other designers that they can take decisive action in a cost & time effective manner. That she was able to rely on evidence of when her design was lodged on the ACID IP Databank gives additional and valuable third-party evidence of IP ownership should it be required. Maybe in future, Etsy might provide a facility for giving extra information on the form which could help clarify IP ownership further.
Steps to take down
Report the alleged infringement to Etsy, through their online Intellectual property infringement report. Em gave reference to her long standing (2017) listing of her original Stitch Passport Cover design under the registered trade marks Maid in China and Chasing Threads and also listed that she had also lodged the design on the ACID IP Databank together with its unique certificate number which is created when there is a lodgement.
Facts of the case
Em Royston believed the listing by Bangkok HandCraft (BC) was created in December 2019, two years after her own design. Em’s passport cover in various colours had been live with Etsy and ‘best-selling’ within the Passport Cover category. Bangkok Handcraft had copied every aspect of her product:
- The exact placement of the world map (they have other non-stitchable passport covers where the world map is printed in an entirely different position), as well as the location of the perforations are an exact replica of the unique feature of her design.
- The product slogans, branding, and title are copied directly from her product, i.e. the unique phrases “sew where have you been?!” and “stitch where you’ve been”.
- The vast majority of the product description is a word-for-word copy of that on her own product listing, of over 100 words.
This was a clear, direct, and fully intentional imitation of her established product and Etsy listing. The 2017 original design of the Stitch Passport Cover is lodged with the ACID IP Databank which can be used for dated evidence of the design’s existence and insisted the copyright infringement to be remarkably clear. Em’s Etsy listings can be found here as an example of the copied text.
Em further commented, “Had Etsy allowed this listing to remain, they would be supporting a seller who is in direct contravention of my intellectual property rights which would have been in direct contrast to the spirit and intention of Etsy to support and advocate for unique and innovative design. Happily, Etsy responded positively to the take-down request.”
This is one of Em’s best-selling product and the basis of her company, and so the existence of a cheaper imitation being sold through Etsy was extremely harmful to her livelihood.
Chasing Threads comprises a collection of beautiful products that are perforated, so that they can be easily stitched. This turns your travel accessories into a canvas – that can be sewn with crosses to personalise and mark everywhere you’ve been.
The range is inspired by traditional embroidery and bringing ‘craft’ into the mainstream fashion and travel accessories market. Having previously design the Cross Stitch Map for Suck UK, founder and UK designer, Em Royston, describes the ideology behind the collection: ‘In this fast-paced technological world, it’s nice to slow down – use your hands, put pen to paper and needle through fabric. The low-tech solution celebrates craft in the age of ‘apps’ and encourages us to make the most of our travels and experiences by taking time to record them in a physical way.’
Her other brand, Maid In China, makes unusual teaware inspired by the magic of the Circus. From a tea set that becomes a moving merry-go-round, to a toast rack disguised as a travelling tiger: ordinary items come to life in fine bone china and luxe gold aesthetic. Maid in China stands for product that is as clever as it is beautiful, functional and on-trend.
www.wearechasingthreads.com / https://maidinchinadesign.com/
Other useful information about track down and take down
If you find you are being potentially copied on popular websites, you do have the opportunity of contacting the potential infringer and putting in a complaint. We recommend you contact the websites below: As an ACID member you can also contact one of the ACID Legal Affiliates and take advantage of your free period of legal advice per query. If you would like further information on how to do this please ask or click here.
Etsy Seller Handbook
Etsy IP Policy and Reporting Tool
eBay – About Vero
eBay – How to report an infringement
eBay – Info for users
Alibaba IP Protection Policy
Alibaba IP Infringement Claims
Notonthehighstreet – Statement on Partners Website – you will need to complain internally. External complainers (non-partners) should use the contact form too. “We own, or are the licensee to, all right, title and interest in and to the Service, including all rights under patent, copyright, trade secret or trademark law, and any and all other proprietary rights, including all applications, renewals, extensions and restorations thereof. You will not modify, adapt, translate, prepare derivative works from, decompile, reverse-engineer, disassemble or otherwise attempt to derive source code from the App or any other part of the Service. You must not extract or otherwise use any of the content on the Site and/or Service for commercial purposes without obtaining a licence to do so from us or our licensors. We respect the intellectual property rights of others and we ask our Sellers to do the same. If you are aware that any of your intellectual property rights have been infringed on the Site, please contact us here to report the concern.”