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Big retailers under fire for ‘copying’ accessory designs

Asos is the latest retailer to come under fire for allegedly copying accessory designs from a smaller business.

Designer Helen Entwisle, who developed her Cube Chap accessories in 2006 and now sells the range, which includes keyrings and charms, to 40 indie stockists, wrote in her blog this week that Asos had “taken her Cube Chap and made him into a pendant”. Entwisle has contacted the young fashion etailer but has not yet had a response.

She said: “If Asos had asked about using my design they could have paid me to do so rather than paying a designer to copy it. Compared with them I’m just a teeny tiny illustrator with no leg to stand on.”

Entwisle intends to write a formal letter to Asos requesting the business stops selling the pendants. Failing a response, she will seek legal advice.

Drapers contacted Asos, which declined to comment.

The situation is the second such case to emerge within a week, where a larger retailer has been accused of overlooking the design rights of a smaller business.

Handmade accessories brand Tatty Devine’s lawyers issued a statement of claim last Friday to Claire’s Accessories for infringement of design rights for six pendants.

Rosie Wolfenden, founder of Tatty Devine, which has both automatic unregistered design rights and copyright for the pieces, said original design was at the heart of being an independent business.

She added: “We feel very strongly when it comes to protecting our original designs.”

Claire’s Accessories said it was “currently investigating the allegations” and expected to issue a statement next week.

Fox Williams partner Simon Bennett said unregistered design protection meant Tatty Devine was entitled to ask Claire’s to withdraw the items immediately, as well as asking for destruction of the infringing goods and for damages for items sold.

Bennett added: “The fact that there has been multiple copying will make it very difficult for Claire’s to defend the claim, as it will be hard for them to say that they have independently created all these items.”

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