Pottery Barn to Target: You Stole Our Stockings

Target is the Grinch that stole Pottery Barn’s design for a Christmas stocking, according to a recent lawsuit:

    “Williams-Sonoma, which operates Pottery Barn and other chains, claims in a federal lawsuit filed last week that a quilted Christmas stocking sold at Target stores contains “every distinctive element of Pottery Barn Christmas stockings,” right down to the snowflakes and blue sky.

Williams-Sonoma isn’t the first to sue Target over copyright infringement. “Lucky Brand Dungarees, which sells $100-plus jeans worn by the likes of Salma Hayek and Sandra Bullock, filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York, accusing Target of copying its distinctive floral design jeans and its rear-pocket stitching.” It seems like Target is taking their knock-off aesthetic a bit too far. They’d better get back to partnering with designers and stay away from ripping them off, lest lawsuits drive up prices.—MEGHANN MARCO

Target, known for trendy goods, accused of copying product designs [Buffalo News]

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  1. Heh heh, for all we know maybe the guys over at “Personal Creations” would like to have a word in that matter:

    http://www.personalcreations.com/shop/thumbnail.asp?ensemb

    Yeah it’s not the same but it’s “substantially similar” to the design. I wouldn’t be surprised to find they all ripped it off from somewhere. The lawsuit is patently ridiculous as “themes” are not copyrightable. Unless it’s an exact replica there is no law against knock-offs when there is no trademark dilution at stake.

    Any lawyers care to follow up in case i’m wrong? ;p

  2. dibbers75 says:

    Well it’s still ugly no matter who designed it. How big does a stocking have to be? Apparently so big you can stuff a child’s bicycle in it.

  3. Antrack says:

    Am I the only one completely jealous of that giant stocking full of gifts? My stocking when I was a kid was like 1/10 that size.

  4. pronell says:

    Those are about the size of the ones we’ve always had. My mom knit them, and usually opening the stockings is more fun than the rest of the gifts, even though it was mostly stuff we’d need, like chapstick, tissues, and combs. Plus the typical assortment of chocolates and nuts. Each year, there would be a grapefruit jammed into the toe end.
    (Except for mine, I got an orange. Grapefruit sucks. It sucks even more when you finally succumb and eat one, as I did eight months ago when I was sick, and then spend an entire day vomiting up grapefruit goo.)

  5. I don’t get it…does Williams Sonoma have a patent on Christmas Stockings? Does Lucky have a patent on jeans? Unless the products are being sold as “Lucky Brand” or as “Pottery Barn,” it isn’t a trademark issue…and copyright doesn’t have anything to do with it either…

    Maybe it’s just that these luxury goods companies don’t want people having similar designs of the same products for half or less of the price. I mean hey, if Lucky’s Jeans or Pottery Barn Christmas stockings are worth the price, then people aren’t going to buy them from Target…

  6. isadora says:

    Actually, among the indie crafter and fine arts scenes, Target is notorious for ripping off hot designers and artists, though the indie types don’t usually have the money to do anything about it. Urban Outfitters, too, is quick to jump on any “hip” trend they find in the DIY marketplace.

    Neither company every approaches the designer of the item; they simply make a couple of (minor) modifications and pay third world workers to cheaply produce the knock-offs.

    That said, I shop at Target. I’m always part of the problem it seems.

  7. infinitysnake says:

    I don’t know about the stockings, but the halloween trees in the article or a crock…they were selling those at craft stores for years before PB had one…

  8. Rachel says:

    This is such a non-story. You cannot copyright fashion. When Julia Roberts won her Oscar within a week all the department stores had her Valentino dress for $100.

  9. miss_minky says:

    Fashion is a pretty different game as far as IP law is concerened. In this case, there is an artistic expression that is separable from the actual stocking (for instance, a Van Gogh on a t-shirt is still a Van Gogh) and therefore, protectible by copyright.

  10. jimmy1962 says:

    I work for potterybarn kids. and we have had these quilted stockings since 2000 the target ones are almost the same. they just changed them a little. the one they show in the photo on this page is of the jumbo stocking. and not the smaller ones. if you call potterybarn kids ask if the stockings are on say they should be for 8.99 each plus 6 dollars to have your name on them. if you put them side by side you dont see that much of a diffrance. if they werent side by side you would think they were pottery barn stockings