How can a designer decide whether a competitors design is similar enough to their own to take further action?

There is a lot of copycatting out in the world, and it’s a constant legal battle fought in higher courts.

For us ants on the ground, grinding away in smaller capacities with little or no permanent legal support, how can we look at a design and say “Hey, that’s a copy of my design!”?

  • Looking at these questionable examples as if one of them was your design, how would you evaluate if the similarities between them are enough for you to take further action, such as consult a lawyer?

  • What elements would you look at and compare?

Various ambiguous product designs


In general, professional graphic designers try not to step on Intellectual Property Rights’ toes, as a big part of our industry depends on them.*

What constitutes infringement, though? That is always a legal question, and not one with necessarily hard-and-fast rules. It will typically come down to the opinions of a legal team vs. the opinions of an opposing legal team and whatever the judge/jury decides.

If I worked for Aldi, this would be the lawyer’s problem. Not mine.

If I am working for mom-and-pop store down the road, I’d want to sit down and explain my concerns about this potentially opening them up to a legal battle. If they still insist they I proceed, I’d either bow out of the project, or make sure my lawyer drafted up a contract that my client would sign releasing me from liability if they are ever sued.

*That said, I’ll acknowledge the irony in that statement, as lots of designers have ‘borrowed’ fonts and copies of photoshop in their days…

Source : Link , Question Author : Dom , Answer Author : DA01

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