Has someone copied your best design and left you steaming mad? Copy Cats are a perennial problem in the jewelry world, where copyright violations are rampant. We hear about it all the time at Nina Designs and we experience it too. I once received a catalog from India that consisted entirely of pages xeroxed from my own catalog! While we copyright all of our sterling silver designs, there is nothing I could do about an Indian Copy Cat with no physical presence in the U.S. The sad truth is that while litigation, or the threat of litigation, can be useful in certain extremely blatant situations, jewelry copyrights are notoriously difficult to enforce. Our response? We try to have so many designs in our pipeline that no one else can keep up with us!
Sometimes our competitors make exact copies of our designs. Other times, the connection is less direct but just as striking. Chanel recently came out with earrings almost identical to our gold plated silver Deco Rose pendant and Tiffany just launched a whole collection of silver keys.
While frustrating, copycats are just a fact of life in fashion. They can even help drive up demand for your designs. We are fully expecting our silver keys and Deco Rose to get even more popular now that the Big Guns have put their marketing muscle behind those looks. Likewise, we tried for years to get traction with our gorgeous Black Satin collection, but it wasn’t until jewelers started pushing the look in the Sundance catalog and other trendy venues that sales took off.
It also helps to remember that we all get inspiration from perusing the magazines and checking out jewelry where ever we see it. I know I should look people in the face first, but my eyes go straight to their jewelry! None of this takes the sting out of seeing your designs copied, but since there isn’t much you can do about it, why not look on the bright side? Remember, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”