Design Replica

Author: Chantal Serrate Posted in Special

Vp Globe Replica, Original from VerPan. Design by Verner Panton.



The dubious business with copied design classics

“Welcome to our addictive website”, says the online store of Interior Addict Limited, based in London. Also in the web shop of Allstars Furniture GmbH in South Tyrol reproductions of famous design classic are advertised progressively: “Design furniture at unbeatable prices!” “(…) that as many people can afford this luxury”, with this words the makers of GoodFurn Limited are going into the copy-offensive. As the import of piracy is punishable under German law, the customer commits for the so-called ‘self-import-model’ at some providers. ‘What problems does the purchase of copied design classics entails and why everyone should renounce it – here are the reasons:


Arne Jacobsen, Charles Le Corbusier, Ray & Charles Eames, Verner Panton

Arne Jacobsen, Charles Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, Verner Panton – who does not know the icons of furniture design. Unique in their designs, which are still produced by selected companies under license, only few can afford, for example, an original Lounge Chair by Vitra for more than EUR 5.000. But a copy for just EUR 1020, seen in the web shop of the British provider Italia Designs Limited is as more in the budget.


Forgery exchanged for the original

“Piracy in lighting and furnishings trade is a problem, there are numerous illegal copies,” says Tecnolumen Managing Director Carsten Hotzan. Therefore Tecnolumen brought up the campaign ‘No Fake’ last year. Plagiarism of the Wagenfeld lamp were exchanged for the original. About 100 buyers came forward, 64 sent a Replica, 59 lamps were replaced. Hotzans stock: “Most owners of forgery claimed to have purchased them from ignorance, there were also some participants who have admitted openly and honestly that they have deliberately bought a fake – for reasons of cost.”


Example Verner Panton

So why spend money unnecessarily, when you can have what you desire much cheaper? Thus Designfurn Limited sells the copy of the Flowerpot VP1 pendant lamp by Verner Panton over for just EUR 87.20. The original by &tradition from an authorized dealer, such as the online shop of TAGWERC costs with at least EUR 189 more than the double. Even more striking is the difference in Mother of Pearl FUN 1DM pendant lamp, which is designed by Verner Panton as well and produced by Verpan: plagiarism can be bought for EUR 329, while the original from Verpan stands with EUR 827 on the sale list.


Losses in look and quality

“Who saves on the price should factor losses in look and quality in”, shows TAGWERC, not only specializes in lighting, furniture and rugs by Verner Panton, but engaged in educational work, on another aspect. “In some cases pirated material is offered with the original images of the licensed manufacturers,” explains Stephan Tovar of TAGWERC. You should probably suggest that original and copy are identical in quality and appearance. In addition, design replica do not run through security checks, as originals do. “Especially in the operation of copied lighting this can be dangerous.”


Copy & paste no peccadillo

The copy & paste mentality is common, but by no means a trivial offense. “What starts in miniature by copying or estrangement individual text passages (text spinning) or a picture, will not stop with piracy,” Tovar is sure. And breach of copyright can sometimes even be prosecuted.


Two years on probation

The trade with replicas has a criminal component. While objects are in Germany copies of copyrighted works of applied art, they are – against an always-heard opinion – also now protected for example in Italy. In the UK, the protection expires after 25 years. Nevertheless: “Is punishable who moves recognizable in a gray legal area and thus reckoned to act illegally,” says Professor Dr. Christian Dole, specialized lawyer in Intellectual Property Law, Preu Bohlig & Partner, Berlin. “This camouflaged ‘own import model’ as form of distribution of piracy thus has failed and is no gateway for the erosion of intellectual property,” the lawyer comments on the Supreme Court judgment of 10-11-2012. The managing director of an Italian shipping company, a German, who imported ‘furniture classics’ from Italy to Germany, was sentenced to a prison term of two years on probation.


Damage in billions

While the consumer saves, he damages an important industry, the furniture industry. The OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates the damage caused by global trade in counterfeit products, to a total of around 250 billion Dollars, about 193.5 billion EUR. “In addition, jobs and companies are endangered. This is also confirmed by Tecnolumen. “In Germany there are less and less craftsmen who can produce for our lamps yet,” says Hotzan. “Just recently a glass factory has closed, with which we have worked together for 30 years.”


Copy paid ​​but never received

Moreover, not only plagiarism is offered, but sometimes customers are cheated, as well. 2012 the online shop of Merlin Furniture Limited,, was closed. Numerous customers had paid for replicas, but never received them. The prosecution determins. Same business model seems to be pursuing over The Centre for European Consumer Protection in Kehl recorded this year almost 111 cases in this regard against the operators of, says André Schulze Wethmar by the European Consumer Centre. The advice at, a review portal, speak the same language. To measure the cross-section of 874 reviews gets 3.7 out of 10 points, which is a “bad.” A user from Las Vegas, USA, warns already in the title of his review: “Do not buy from this company”.


Important information in inconspicuous formulated sentences

Even those who get delivered the ordered design piece actually is far on the safe side. In, small print ‘, for example in the Interior Addict Limited, says: “Designers and Distributors should note that the products may not be sold as originals.” Although at first it does not look like, but this is a very important information! Most of the customers really forget – or do not even know – that it is illegal for them to sell the acquired plagiarism later, possibly even under its original name. Only the shape sometimes enjoys copyright protection.


Only an original is stable value

And there’s another reason to save on an original, instead of buying a copy.
Prof. Donle: “A problem is for consumers that they may never sell fakes again.” The originals remain stable value for many years and can be sold afterwards even with profit. “The owner of a fake, however, can not sell it without committing an infringement of copyright,” the expert says, adding: “If he is then caught, there is a criminal case opened against him.” An argument that should convince even the last.