Target Faux Pas

International
Friday, February 19, 2010
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GenuineDesign.com exposes the ersatz Corbu.

Though often a friend to the design world, especially to those of us who want to own a little piece of Michael Graves or Marcel Wanders on a writer’s budget, Target has really missed the mark with a blatant Le Corbusier knockoff. Our friends at GenuineDesign.com spell it out nicely for us:

Only Cassina, the world famous Milan furniture manufacturer, makes authentic Le Corbusier® furniture. Cassina’s production of Le Corbusier designs is protected by an exclusive, worldwide rights license drawn up in 1964, granted by the Fondation Le Corbusier and the co-authors. According to the Fondation Le Corbusier “all pieces of furniture which do not bear the logotype Cassina, the signature of Le Corbusier and the production number are counterfeits”.

Hot. (Courtesy Cassina)

Target is selling two items that it calls the Le Corbusier Petite Sofa ($1118.99) and the Le Corbusier Petite Chair ($558.99), which are also available as a set ($1676.99). Both items are sold out online, and those savvy shoppers seem to have gotten a pretty close fake:

Not. (Courtesy Target)

Because the furniture for sale at Target is not made or licensed by Cassina, we can only assume that the big box retailer’s legal team has been spending a little too much time in the boxed wine aisle. But hey, if they’re lucky maybe Target will start selling Harvard Law degrees too.

7 Responses to “Target Faux Pas”

  1. Nathan says:

    What we have to look at there is whether the differentiator “petite” passes the so called “moron in a hurry” test. I’m inclined to say that it probably doesn’t. But at the same time I really have a problem with that Genuine Design website. Trademarks are meant to protect the public from purchasing something that may be harmful or dangerous that is being passed off as a specific brand. It’s a consumer protection law. But in this case, it’s being used like copyright to stop people from being able to sell something with a similar design. Trademark is not for intellectual property protection.

  2. Eric says:

    Nathan,
    Your assertions about the function of trademarks are incorrect. They are at the heart of intellectual property law, not consumer protection law. Trademarks protect manufacturers from impostors who see a success then try to rip off the brand name or logo. That is exactly what has happened here. The trademark law protects consumers against a “likelihood of confusion” between the products of one company and another. It makes no difference if the copycat product is of the same quality or safety level. Imagine if somebody stole your identity and used it to collect money that was supposed to be paid to you.

    Intellectual property is property. Stealing it makes you a thief.

  3. [...] you’re a design rock star? Guess the fake. Target is selling what they call a “Le Corbusier Petit Chair”–but what designers know as the iconic [...]

  4. citicritter says:

    They’re also selling knock off Eames Aluminum Group chairs…

  5. Bill says:

    I still like Target! There is no copy right on design?

  6. Matt says:

    Either way you cut it, that is chair is a low point in modern furniture design. It is terrible for your body and not that attractive either.

  7. meeee says:

    kmart is selling this chair and eames chairs too!!! but they dont call them Eames

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