Suit Filed Against Kohl’s for Potential T-Shirt Design Theft

While the fashion industry ratchets up their efforts to legally be able to stop design copycats, the long tradition of large retailers selling knock-offs of work by individual designers or small shops still marches on. The St. Paul Business Journal reports that designer Heidi Panelli has taken Kohl’s to court over a t-shirt design now sold by the retailer that she claims is far too close to one she had been selling on her site for years. Seeing the two side-by-side, it’s hard not to agree with her, as just a handful of very slight changes are the only thing that make the shirts distinguishable from one another. While it’s easy to vilify the retailer in these instances, it seems as though these cases are more often a matter of poor due diligence on behalf of their buyers for not having discovered that one of the brands they order from was pushing a potential knock-off. Panelli, who stumbled across the copy of her design while shopping, is asking that Kohl’s remove all the shirts copying her work and pay damages it may have cost her business.