Pandemic leads to spike in product copying  

A leading intellectual property lawyer has warned that copying of designs has seen a dramatic increase in recent months.

‘The proliferation of web-only fakes is a growing trend we have identified in advising clients in the textiles and home furnishings sector as we emerge from Covid-19. Instructions to our team have more than doubled as a result of these infringements over recent months,’ says Tony Catterall, Taylors Solicitors senior partner and head of intellectual property.

‘Sales have been booming during the pandemic for those clients who have moved fast to sell online or to supply those who do, as customers buy their wall coverings, textiles and soft furnishings via the Internet rather than from bricks and mortar stores. We have seen a major increase in instructions from clients with claims against infringers seeking to exploit the move to web sales by offering copies of clients’ original products from multiple shop fronts on the Internet, including Amazon and eBay.

‘The problem has been exacerbated by people working from home, with infringers using bedroom sellers to set up web stores, who when confronted naively protest they are only trying to supplement their income.

‘We are currently involved in claims for numerous furniture distributors, textile and wallpaper manufacturers who recognise the need to move fast to protect their brands and their IP. To assist them, we have been able to swiftly get copied products removed from web platforms, often within 24 hours of the issue being identified, curbing online infringements in the UK, Europe, United States and wherever on the planet that our clients’ IP rights extend to.’



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