UPDATE: Both the company where we purchased the mugs and the manufacturers have now been in touch with our solicitors. Correspondence continues.
Having control over colourways and quality was paramount so we decided to set up our own business and have since worked with a number of artists and designers to produce our printed fabrics and wallpapers.
Both Angie and St. Jude's have turned down a number of requests to have designs licensed for other uses. Which makes it a bit irritating when things like this set of four mugs (below) appears on the market. To clarify, Angie has had no involvement in the design or making of these.
At this point we're not making reference to either the manufacturer or the mail order company currently selling these mugs. They've been contacted and we look forward to hearing their response.
No artist, designer, maker or musician works in a vacuum. For instance, there are just 12 notes in the chromatic scale and so from time to time musical phrases will appear that sound familiar.
But there's a difference between natural, subconcious filtering of thoughts/inspirations and what might be a more direct process of making reference to another's work.
Our question would be: could this set of four mugs have existed without direct reference to Angie's (long sold out) limited edition prints?
Unfortunately there are designers out there who still seem to hold on to the view that as long as you make a certain number of changes to a piece of work, you can call it your own. Not true.
The point of this post? Primarily to make it clear that Angie had nothing to do with the design of these mugs. But more importantly, it's a call to designers and makers to look into joining ACID - Anti Copying In Design. We've been members for a number of years now.
They're a valuable organisation who provide an accessible, practical framework for those who believe that their IP rights have been infringed. As we have found out in previous instances, they have very good legal advisors who can help people like us take action when required. Find out more
Although it covers slightly different ground, you might also be interested in Elle Decoration editor Michelle Ogundehin's Equal Rights For Design! campaign. Business Secretary Vince Cable has already agreed to this proposed change in copyright law but it's still important for as many people as possible to sign the online petition. Sign the petition now