Posted at 03:01 PM ET, 05/31/2011

Urban Outfitters strikes back against copycat allegations

Urban Outfitters’s design on the left and Stevie Koerner’s design on the right.
On Friday, Twitter erupted in anger over when an independent jewelry designer accused Urban Outfitters, the hipster clothing store, of copying one of her necklace lines. It was not the first time the store had been accused of borrowing amply from other designers, but thanks to social media, it was one of the most widespread.

Tuesday, Urban Outfitters struck back against Chicago-based jewelry designer Stevie Koerner saying in a statement posted on its site “the idea is not unique to Koerner and she can in no way claim to be its originator.”

Koerner accused the company of stealing her line of “United/World of Love” necklaces. She wrote on her Tumblr account that the design was similar, the name of the item was the same and some of the copy matched on the online descriptions.

However, the statement from Urban Outfitters points out that similar designs — a heart marking the outline of a state — have been selling on the Web site Etsy for at least a year before Koerner posted her first necklace.

“Are all of these independent designers on Etsy stealing from each other?” asks Hellen Killer on the blog Regretsy. “Or this is such a simple and generic idea that many people can come up with it at once? Certainly the idea of a charm in the shape of a state is nothing new; they’ve been selling those to tourists for years. Is it such a leap to put a heart in one? That seems like a logical progression from the I heart NY design.”

Urban Outfitters has faced such accusations before, so much so that a reader of BlogPost wrote in last week about a Web site started in 2006 called “Urban Counterfeiters” that tracked what the blog saw as hijacked designs by the major corporation.

Read the full statement from the company here.

By  |  03:01 PM ET, 05/31/2011

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