Knockoffs of These Classic Designs are Now Illegal in the UK

Knockoffs of These Classic Designs are Now Illegal in the UK

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Tara Bellucci
Aug 4, 2016

An update to Britain's copyright laws just made it harder for companies to sell knockoffs of classic furniture designs.

The change is just now coming into effect; as of July 28, 2016, dealers cannot make or import new furniture copies. Six months from now, it will also be illegal to sell them.

The change comes after the 2012 repeal of section 52 of the UK's Copyright, Designs and Patent Act of 1988, which had excluded industrially manufactured designs from copyright protections. The law now protects original designs for a full 70 years after the creator's death, instead of 25 years after an item was first marketed.

Designs that were no longer copyrighted that now are include: Eames' DSW chair, protected until 2058; Arne Jacobsen's Egg chair, protected until 2041; Hans Wegner's Wishbone chair, protected until 2077; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair, protected until 2039; and Isamu Noguchi's coffee table, protected until 2058.

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