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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Overstock or Overknockoff???



There are things we love about Overstock.com.  We love their $2.95 shipping on ANYTHING.  We love their 800-thread count sheet sets for $59.  We love that they carry everything from Omega-3 Vitamins to Omega Seamaster watches

But when I was browsing their site today, I found something I don't like:  obvious copies of designer furniture.  While I am no means an expert on intellectual property, I do remember from law school that patents can be difficult to obtain and enforce, particularly when you are dealing with the functionality of a piece of furniture.  However, regardless of whether or not a piece's design is patented, it is disappointing to see the handiwork of a talented designer blatantly copied.  Of course it is easier to sell something cheaply when you can capitalize on someone else's artistic design efforts and copy their work detail-for-detail.

Here are a few items on Overstock that really seem like blatant copies of a more expensive original...

The Original: 

The Knockoff:
Colorful Fabric Seat Chair, $191




The Original:



The Knockoff:




The Original:



The Knockoff:


The Original:



The Knockoff:



The Original:




The Knockoff:





The Original:



The Knockoff:





We would like to differentiate between the blatant copies pictured above and pieces that are designed after a more expensive inspiration piece.

For example:

The Inspiration:

The Overstock Rendition:




While the second chair certainly reminds us of the more expensive Anthropologie Astrid chair, it is not a blatant attempt to copy every possible detail of the Anthro chair.  The lines of the chair and the fabric do vary from the Anthro inspiration piece.

The Inspiration:




The Overstock Rendition:



While these two lamps are similar, you can see obvious differences in the bases of the lamps, the polished v. brushed nickel hardware, and the sizes of the acrylic spheres.

Tell us your feelings on this controversial subject!  Legally there is a difference between counterfeit goods and designer-inspired pieces, but functionally, do you see any real difference between carrying a fake LV handbag and having the Vinnie cradle rocker in your nursery?

8 comments:

Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

The Decoration and the chairs are looking much wonderful and elegant simply different and stylish.They are giving a different look in the
furniture decoration.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Great post. I am not one to buy knock offs but I think sometimes people buy them not realizing they are. Big knockoff suit going on at DWR on the Bellini Chair.

Kristin said...

if they aren't breaking the law, then let them be. i for one cannot afford a $1900 chair so a knockoff is a nice alternative.

Jaime said...

I totally want the ghost chair knock offs!

central bark designs said...

Inspirations are flattering, especially when CREDITED...Knock-offs are wrong. That goes for purses...clothes...furniture...
and my biggest pet-peeve bootlegged music and movies...don't get me started on that one!!!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I bought a ghost chair, but investigated the knock off and I believe it comes in pieces. It looks fine, but I have doubts about the stability.

I'm all for design for the masses, though. If I was still a student, I'd be so thankful for these lower priced options...and I'd still aspire for the real thing.

mel. said...

Thank you! There is nothing that frustrates me more than knock-offs, whether it be in interiors or clothing designs. someone worked extremely hard to produce what they did, and no one should be able to take that away from them! Good post!

www.seewhatmelsees.blogspot.com

Ghome said...

Many other furniture website has the knock-off furniture, ie: www.interiortradefurniture.com
it is my favorite site.

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