This member of the IPKat team receives leads and links from many sources near and far, but this item was drawn to his attention by a very local source: Mrs Kat was checking her emails via the Yahoo! webmail service and this item sprang up before her very eyes. She wasted no time in reporting it to the appropriate blog member, for which she deservedly earns her very first kat-pat.
The intellectual property creation that lies at the heart of this post is the message on the right, painted by Atlanta, Georgia-based graffiti artist Tori LaConsay on a road sign in her vicinity. This work, painted in December 2008, bore an uncanny resemblance to a product design which was subsequently used by ubiquitous multinational high-street store Hennes & Mauritz (H and M, if you prefer), a sample of which is exhibited below.
The story goes that Tori LaC complained to H & M and received the following magnificent brush-off:
“We employ an independent team of over 100 designers. We can assure you that this design has not been influenced by your work and that no copyright has been infringed.”It's not clear exactly what has happened since in purely legal terms, though it is reported that H&M has removed the offending items from its e-commerce website and is said to have posted this statement on its Facebook page last week:
“We are very sorry for our customer service team´s reply, it is very unfortunate and we apologize for it. We are in contact with Tori LaConsay and will continue the dialogue with her directly.”At this point the trail seems to have gone cold. The IPKat, who considers that £2.99 is a very good price to pay for a guest -towel two-pack, wonders what has happened since. Has there been a legal claim and/or a settlement? What has happened to those guest-towels? Does H & M take indemnities from its members of its "independent team of over 100 designers" in respect of the risk of intellectual property infringement? And could the whole thing just be a complete coincidence?
Merpel's just puzzled that anyone would have thought the original worth creating in the first place, never mind copying or spontaneously emulating. But then, she's just a Kat and there's no accounting for aesthetic taste ...