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Design Debate 'PLAGIARISM VERSUS INSPIRATION' - Copyright is outdated

Wednesday 30 January 2013
15.00 - 16.30h
Designhuis Eindhoven
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"What you really worry about in the design of furniture or in architecture are the bad copies, when your idea is used in a kind of booby way” - Charles Eames

Plagiarism occurs in every discipline: in music, journalism and technology, and also in design. Remember the lawsuit of Miffy against Hello Kitty: the court ruled against Hello Kitty: one of its characters infringed on the copyright and trademark of Miffy, but Hello Kitty itself persists the character’s designs are not related. Is it still possible to protect products and concepts?

We are constantly surrounded by designed objects and design solutions in public space, the Internet, in books and in magazines. As such ideas spread rapidly and specifically designers are switched on to catch all of them. Therefore, when designing, it is sheer impossible to define the root of an idea or to trace your thinking back to something you were maybe not even aware of seeing. Sometimes your brilliant idea simultaneously appears to exist at the other side of the world; as if ideas rapidly spread across the world as viruses. The famous physician Richard Dawkins called this ‘Meme’. In relation to this, we could wonder whether ideas really spring from our minds or that people are simply carriers of these ‘viruses’.

How does this inflict on patenting for (design) products and concepts? When do you cross the line of inspiration or referencing to become plagiarism? What could happen if the world isn’t restricted by patents and ideas are free for all?

On January the 30th, we will discuss the fine line between plagiarism and inspiration and whether there is a future for patents or if open data and knowledge will be the downfall for patents and plagiarism lawsuits.



Christine LaCroix – Managing Director at the Plagiarius Consultancy GmbH. She works on anti-counterfeiting-strategies, helps designers and companies with counsel and advice concerning IP rights, and organises the annual Plagiarius-Competition. Her aim is to inform and sensitise the public practically about the extent, damages and dangers incurred by fakes and plagiarisms.

Bob Copray – initiator of Mal and designer of the Mal 1956.

Gie van den Broek – attorney-at-law at Deterink. His practice area is intellectual property law with a focus on fashion industry, trademarks and brand protection. He specialises in anti-counterfeiting measures.

Published: 14-Jan-2013 14:18
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