Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Woman Claims Target Stole Her T-Shirt Design...

A stay-at-home mom in Oregon says The Bullseye swiped one of her t-shirt designs, ABC affiliate KATU-TV reports.

Melissa Lay designs, prints and sells her own t-shirts from her garage. Now, she claims mass retailer Target stole one of her designs. Melissa is shown here wearing her own shirt, and holding up Target's version on the hanger.

"(I was) blown away," said Lay, "because as a small business owner (and) a mom, I work hard on every shirt I sell."

A friend of Melissa's found a nearly identical top from a Target store in Seattle. Another found the design at a Target in Texas.

While the designs appear to be the same, there are a few small differences. The Target shirt has a distressed flag, as opposed to Lay's original design. Lay also says the material used to make Target's shirts is of lesser quality than hers.

Another big difference: the Target tank retails for $12.99. Lay's handmade t-shirt is $25. Unfortunately, Lay does not have a copyright on every one of her designs because she says it's simply too expensive.

"I would have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to fix this, and I still might lose," Lay told KATU-TV. Lay reached out to Target's headquarters in Minneapolis, who encouraged her to write a letter outlining her complaint.

5 comments:

COCA said...

Well if she didn't have the copyright, she can't do anything about it.

meresu said...

I just googled "how much does it cost to file a copyright". $35. That's it.

Critifur said...

Uh, this stinks, even if she didn't get the copyright. Sadly this is not new to retail, it happens constantly. This is the first time I have heard of Target doing it:
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3020194/how-a-company-gets-away-with-stealing-independent-designers-work
http://imakeshinythings.tumblr.com/post/5855716317/not-cool-urban-outfitters-not-cool

Target Addict said...

Meresu: you make a point, but Ms. Lay mentions in the article that she "does not have a copyright on every one of her designs because she says it's simply too expensive." So if she has say 50+ designs, I can see her point.

And Critifur: actually, Target has been accused of swiping designs before. Below are links to two past posts of mine - one where Target copied Swatch, and another where they copied DVF:

http://target-addict.blogspot.com/2014/03/swatch-sues-target-over-watch-designs.html

http://target-addict.blogspot.com/2008/03/target-sued-over-dress-design.html

meresu said...

There's been a followup to her story. Turns out she stole someone else's design too. A graphic from the tootsie roll company with is trademarked. Her defense is "Candy is not apparel. No one should be confused into thinking that my apparel design originates from a candy company. I view my use of the Native American design as transformative, in the same way that Andy Warhol's painting of a Campbell Soup can is transformative." So now even less sympathy for her.