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Knock it Off Already

Feb. 19, 2016

Our editor-at-large takes on the topic of product imitation

The oft-repeated adage, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” may seem like a nice thing to say but let’s face it: it’s really a sales pitch for thievery.

When it comes to furniture design, buying a knockoff may be less expensive but that doesn’t mean it comes without a price, as one blogger has noted. Not only does the designer lose out on income for his or her intellectual property, but they also face the difficult and costly task of defending a copyright—especially when the rip-off may not be a perfect replica (but close enough to pass).

In fact, there are websites such as Modern Furniture Knockoff and Replica Furniture dedicated to selling counterfeit designer furniture that claim to be “designer inspired” and offer deep discounts to consumers who want high design at a low price. And according to CNBC’s “Treasure Detectives,” furniture is one of the most replicated products of all time.

That’s why for our March issue, we decided to focus our attention on the Craft of Design and celebrate authentic, quality design made at the hands of true artisans.

So, how can you spot a fake from the real thing? You can start by checking with Be Original Americas’ extensive list of popular knockoffs available on the market.  Designers should also make a commitment to protecting intellectual property rights by only specifying original furniture designs, rather than saving money by purchasing cheap imitations. Don’t worry—there are plenty of ways to find great deals, including our very own Steals+Splurges column in the magazine, as well as other sites like these identified by HuffPost.

About the Author

Robert Nieminen | Chief Content Director

Robert Nieminen is the Chief Content Director of Architectural Products, BUILDINGS and i+s, sister publications of Smart Buildings Technology. He is an award-winning writer with more than 20 years of experience reporting on the architecture and design industry.

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