Virginia Artist Accuses Target Of Ripping Off Designs For Cellphone Covers

A Virginia artist says the cellphone cover sold at Target (left) is a ripoff of the "Lemon and Honey" cellphone cover (right) she designed and started selling in 2013.

A Virginia artist says the cellphone cover sold at Target (left) is a ripoff of the “Lemon and Honey” cellphone cover (right) she designed and started selling in 2013.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that’s not how one Virginia artist sees it. At least not in the case of cellphone covers she says Target and one of its suppliers copied from her designs. 

The woman, who has created and sold original cellphone covers online since 2013, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court this week accusing Target and supplier Weihai Luda Craft Co. of copyright, vicarious and contributory infringement.

According to the lawsuit [PDF], the artist specializes in creating cellphone covers decorated with specifically chosen flowers and plants in original arrangements.

Two of those designs, titled “Lemon and Honey” and “Morning Dew,” have been available for purchase through the artist’s website since August 2013. She applied for copyrights to the designs in April and May of 2015.

A Virginia artist says the cellphone cover sold at Target (left) is a ripoff of the "Honey Dew" cellphone cover (right) she designed and started selling in 2013.

A Virginia artist says the cellphone cover sold at Target (left) is a ripoff of the “Honey Dew” cellphone cover (right) she designed and started selling in 2013.

She claims in the lawsuit that she recently discovered a Target store located in Washington selling unauthorized copies of these two designs under the Target-owned Merona brand. After searching other stores, she found the cellphone covers for sale in Virginia stores and online.

“The floral mobile telephone covers sold by Target are substantially similar and infringing copies of [the artist’s] works ‘Lemon and Honey’ and ‘Morning Dew,'” the lawsuit states. “Both Target and Weihai knew or should have known that the Merona Mobile telephone covers are unauthorized copies [of the woman’s] works.”

Through the lawsuit, the woman seeks $300,000 in damages, an injunction to stop Target from selling the covers, and attorney fees.

[via The Virginian-Pilot]