Intellectual Property

Copying claims snowball: Small business accuses Target of “exact replica” rip-off of T-shirt design

Cara Waters /

 

Target Australia is in hot water again after claims it has copied the designs of another small business.

Last week SmartCompany uncovered claims by Andrea Goulding, owner of children’s clothing label KaPow Kids that Target copied her designs

This followed revelations Target paid small business Peaches and Keen $5000 after the Melbourne business contacted Target with claims its designs had been copied.  

Now US children’s clothing business Mini & Maximus has identified a Target Australia product that appears to be an exact copy of an original Mini & Maximus design.

Mini & Maximus is a five-year-old business operating out of California that uses all locally produced, organic and eco-friendly materials.

Mini & Maximus created a T-shirt as part of the small business’ 2014 collection, which featured a colourful splatter design and black pocket on a white background.

It sold for $US32 and was stocked in some Australian online outlets as well as being featured in posts on social media sites Pinterest and Instagram.

Target is currently selling a “boys’ short sleeve splatter print T-shirt” that features the same colourful splatter design on a plain white background with a black pocket.

The Mini & Maximus T-shirt above, and Target’s version below

The T-shirt retails for $10 and is available both online and instore at Target.   

Christina Decker, director of Mini & Maximus, told SmartCompany she is “very disappointed” after discovering Target’s product.

“We have seen our creative used by other companies in the past but never an exact replica,” she says.

Decker says Mini & Maximus is currently researching its options to find out whether it has any avenues to pursue Target.

A spokesperson for Target told SmartCompany Mini & Maximus should contact the retailer directly with its concerns.

“Target takes its responsibilities in respect of IP issues very seriously and this is the first we were aware of this claim, the spokesperson said.

“Our designers look at trends from a range of sources and splatter print is a trend that we have identified as currently very popular in the market place. Target Australia has a team of designers and graphics designers on board that create our own designs.”

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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