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Hidesign, the Indian leather goods brand based in Pondicherry, has sent a legal notice to Woodland, accusing the footwear and leather goods maker of infringing copyright laws by copying one of its most popular designs.
Hidesign has alleged that Woodland blatantly copied the design of Vespucci, a leather cross shoulder bag for men that is one of its bestselling models. The bag was created in 2011 by Fabian Lintott, Hidesign's London-based designer. "We have filed a legal complain against Woodland few days ago," said Dilip Kapur, founder of Hidesign to India’s Economic Times.
"We have always maintained zero tolerance policy against any infringement or copycat versions of our designs and products," he added. This is not the first time Woodland is accused of copyright infringement. American brand Timberland, when it entered India a few years ago launched a case against Woodland because its logo and many products were similar to those of Timberland.
Hidesign, which sells its products in several countries across the world and in which Louis Vuitton has a minority stake is different though. According to Kapur, it takes nearly a year and a half from design conceptualising to translating the product for retail shelves, all of which is done in-house.
Last year, French luxury brand Hermes took Indian leather goods retailer Da Milano to court over the similarity of some of the latter's handbags to Hermes' Birkin range. Kimaya, a multi-brand retail chain that sells designer wear across the country, had filed a case against Kolkata-based retailer Simaya, alleging that the latter sold copies of its designer wear.