Marks & Spencer started selling a line of T-shirts featuring a floral pattern. A young textile designer, Rachael Taylor, spotted the T-shirts in the show window of M&S Oxford Street shop. She noticed the striking resemblance with her own signature design of hand-drawn flowers.
As shown in the image, the design is almost identical. Ms. Taylor never gave permission to use her design, stating: “This design is my hand drawn original and has been part of my signature collection for quite some time. It's sold on my own branded products 'Rachael Taylor Designs' from kitchen textiles through to stationery. The design has also achieved international success as a licensed design, appearing on numerous home decor products in the UK, Europe & USA.”
Marks & Spencer have withdrawn the garments from sale while it investigated the complaint. M&S emphasized that they had bought them 'in good faith' from a direct supplier. A spokesperson stated: “We are sorry for any disappointment caused to Rachael Taylor Designs from the sale of a T-shirt that we bought in good faith from a direct supplier.”
Ms. Taylor started legal action, stating: “I believe a copyright infringement has been made by Marks and Spencer from using my design and making it into a garment, then selling in their stores. Not only has my design been used for profit without my permission, I believe in standing up for the civil rights of myself and anyone else who has encountered this in their own professional life.”
In a statement, Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust, said: “I hear daily of cases like this. It really hurts these small designers, both financially and emotionally.”
(Image ©Rachael Taylor Designs Ltd. as featured in the Daily Mail)