Renowned Clothing and Fabric designer Annette Sete is calling clothing/fabric designers and artists who have had their designs/artwork copied to join her fight against copyright infringements.
For her, it’s a fight she began three years ago after her famous ‘tabu shell/ring’ design has been copied by other businesses and sold throughout the country.
The owner of Maku Gifts and Lavagirl Brand says almost all the designs her Brand puts out, get copied from the actual designs, colour schemes, and abstracts and concepts.
She added while social media platforms such as Facebook have provided her business a marketing opportunity it also poses a risk of copyright infringement.
“We are leading the market and setting a trend, however, it’s becoming a concern as they copy the exact designs, colours and concept,” said Sete.
The fight has since taken a turn as more Asian businesses have now begin to also copy her designs and sell them at a much lower price range.
While admitting that her pricing is higher thus most SMEs and ‘Mama Markets’ are purchasing from these businesses, she said her business had since work on improving their designs and fabrics and so their fabric pricing is high.
She, however, warns that those that purchase from these businesses are also contributing to copyright infringement.
In order to protect her designs and ensure her business continues into the future, she had to work to improve her designs (Tabu Shell/Ring, Hibiscus and Coconut Trees); quality of her fabric, establishing relationship with overseas companies; and also had to close down for an year to undergone studies in Fashion.
“We have stepped up our fight by staying ahead of them.”
While she has taken these steps to protect her brand, she is also faced with the challenge of improving the turnaround time for her designs and fabrics.
“Usually it takes us about 12-weeks from concept to designs to factory-run and shipment. But for these Asian businesses, it takes them up to 6-weeks, some after a month.”
“We are aware of that and we are working on improving this.” She added.
Despite the stress and emotional turmoil the fight has put her through, she said the fight isn’t just for to protect her business but is also a fight that Papua New Guineans need.
“We feel like getting a decision on the case will set the precedent for how Papua New Guineans fight copyright cases in the future.
“On a personal level, my children will grow-up coming into the business so I want them to come into an environment where they can actually protect their designs and business.” She adds.
Last year, she filed two lawsuits against Tropicana Limited (Kokopo) and Kenny PNG Limited (Lae) for alleged copyright infringements of her ‘tabu’ design on fabrics.
These two matters are going to trial tomorrow, 3rd of March 2021.