Copyright Law Protects Iconic Furniture Designs

copyright copyright

Above left: Jean Prouvé’s Standard Chair, manufactured exclusively by Vitra: now protected until 2054

Above right: Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair, manufactured exclusively by Fritz Hansen: now protected until 2041

Revised copyright laws in the UK will help keep replicas of iconic furniture designs off the market.   Dealers can no longer make or import new furniture replicas as of July 28, 2016 and existing pieces will need to be pulled from the shelf within six months.

The change comes after a repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act of 1988. Previously,  industrially manufactured designs were exempt from the copyright protections artistic works can claim. The original copyright law was valid 25 years after an item was first marketed, but now is increased to 70 years after the creator’s death.

While there is still some room for “inspired by” designs, enough difference should exist that will protect the integrity of the original design. True “knock-offs” should start dwindling from the market while shoppers can enjoy the peace of mind that the pieces they purchase from authorized retailers are authentic and original designs.



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