Stores claim interior design counts as trade dress
Though customers may not be aware of the subtle differences, the elements of your store design help define your companys brand. Retailers have adopted design ideas from each other for years, but according to an article in Display & Design Ideas magazine, some store owners are fighting to protect their personal styles from trademark infringement.
Sephora, a French cosmetics company, filed a lawsuit against Federated Department Stores Inc. and subsidiary Macys West in August, alleging trade dress infringement and unfair business practice. Sephora says the cosmetics department in the recently renovated Macys flagship store in San Francisco, CA, and Macys freestanding Souson cosmetics stores closely resemble Sephoras stores, cheapening the total shopping experience at Sephora.
Interior designers told DDI all store design is based on old ideas that evolve and, therefore, cant be protected by copyright.
Retailers often borrow and build on design, display and marketing ideas. To avoid violating other companies creative property, combine those ideas with your own to produce something distinctive and original. Document your creative process in case youre questioned later. Pay attention to how the colors and materials you use, the layout of your cases and aisles, and your fixtures and props compare with your competitors. If theyre very similar, its time for a change.
by Stacey King