Interior designers create unique looks for their clients. However, their works have not generally been considered intellectual property that can be protected from plagiarism.
With the ease of sharing interior designs via social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, it’s become more common than ever for people to create “knockoffs” of interior design elements or an entire room with no credit, let alone compensation, given to the original designer. Many companies market low-cost duplicates of furniture, textiles, accessories and other design elements to customers who want to save money with do-it-yourself interior decorating.
So how can interior designers protect their creative property from plagiarism? The chief executive officer of Fortuny, Maury Riad, says that there are some practices that interior designers can follow to help protect their work. He says that it’s important to have a carefully drafted contract in place when working with a design community or retailer. However, even these may not prevent someone from using your designs as “inspiration” for their work.
Riad recommends proactively owning your work. That means putting your name on everything you create and requiring media outlets to credit you whenever the work is shown or discussed. He says that interior designers shouldn’t be afraid of putting their work on social media. However, he also suggests having a launch or creating a book.
Riad says, “The more people that see designs in connection with the brands that made them, the more original source awareness they’ll have. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a first step toward protecting your designs, which are, ultimately, your legacy.”
Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or many of your designs have been around for a while, it’s wise to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney. They can help you work to protect your ideas and creations.