Almost every type of designer in this country has felt the pressure imposed by someone copying their work - namely by Chinese manufacturers who can make "the same*" product for less. Just this week alone, I have been beseeched by Chinese manufacturers via my Artfire shop to allow them to make beads for my shop!
DO MY BEADS LOOK LIKE CHINESE CRAP??? Yes, I know, I've always been a bead snob. I can spot cheap Chinese fakes a mile off! And I've always had an eye for genuine Swarovski crystals. I can tell the difference between Swarkies and Czech! And most certainly Swarovskis and Chinese knockoffs!
Interestingly enough, Swarovski has fought hard to protect it's image and product over the years, getting patents on certain cuts and even developing their gross packs to not be resealable (Thieves were stealing the packages from jewelry stores that legally sell in smaller quantities, filling the packs with Chinese knockoffs and reselling as genuine!) . And they recently took it to court against a Chinese company violating their Intellectual Property! [The bold red italics below is mine. I LOVE THAT PART!]
From the Swarovski Elements site:
An infringement recently occurred in China: the company namely Yiwu Yongyang Ornaments Co., Ltd. stood accused of producing and distributing flat-back stones imitating SWAROVSKI’s patented XILION cut design. A civil litigation was filed by SWAROVSKI and lead to a settlement in which the defendant admitted engaging in an act of plagiarism that constituted infringement of SWAROVSKI’s registered design patent. The perpetrator was obliged to destroy the goods in question in the witness of the plaintiff; pay a substantial monetary compensation; and issue a public apology that included a statement of intent never again to infringe SWAROVSKI’s design rights.SWAROVSKI’s pursuit of justice was wholly based on the unfairness of plagiarism. SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS take years of costly research and development to produce innovations. Protecting SWAROVSKI’s business partners worldwide from the knock-on effect of such acts of theft is a key motivator for prosecution.
Win one for the not so little guy! More companies need to do this!!
*You all most certainly know that Chinese lampwork is NOT the same as true artisan lampwork right??? It's not cleaned, not annealed and breaks easily. Remember, with art glass, you get what you PAY for! And thanks to the Chinese, you are paying less and less and real ARTISTS are struggling to survive!