WHY THE ADA?
The Authentic Design Alliance was established in 2010 in response to cheaply made counterfeit designs that began to flood the Australian market. Founded by a group of concerned furniture distributors - Cult, Euroluce, Ke-zu, Living Edge and Stylecraft - the campaign focussed on copies of famous iconic furniture and lighting, seeking industry support for original brands and products.
As design theft continued to escalate, local designers discovered their work was being ripped off. In 2015 the ADA founders passed the initiative to an independent team in the belief that achieving real change required a dedicated and consistent approach - and the ADA relaunched in 2016 with a new program.
Meanwhile, in 2016 Britain criminalised replica products, introducing fines of up to £50,000 and 10 years jail.
At the same time, the Australian Government held a 2-year inquiry into Intellectual Property (IP). No recommendations were made to change Australian laws, and ‘replicas’ or original designs remain legal.
"Australia is now the ‘Wild West’ of fake designer furniture!"
David Trubridge (ABC Radio National)
As a member-funded education platform, we exist to promote the value of original furniture, lighting and designed objects, aiming to end design theft.
With unscrupulous brands profiting from counterfeit designs, these retailers are legally allowed to use a creator's name and leverage their reputation to sell cheap copies of original works. Knock-offs damage not only the designer's reputation, the also negatively impact the broader network of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers!
We advocate for increased Intellectual Property (IP) protection for the design sector, and believe 'replica' furniture products should be made illegal in Australia in line with the UK and Europe. We strive to encourage industry best practice, and to drive a shift in buyer behaviour to support original design in support of a more sustainable future.
THE PROBLEM WITH REPLICA DESIGNS
Copies of iconic furniture designs began appearing around 2000.
Knock-offs of famous furniture pieces could legally use the designer’s name to sell cheaply made versions of instantly recognised designs.
A group of concerned showrooms founded Authentic Design Alliance in 2010 in response to the ever-growing problem of knock-offs in Australia.
AUSTRALIAN DESIGNERS LOSE
By 2012 local designers discovered that their most successful designs were quickly ripped-off. Badly made, low-quality copies of their work popped up in stores and online as the problem spiralled.
In 2016 Britain criminalised replica products, introducing fines of up to £50,000 and 10 years jail.
Meanwhile - the Australian Government held a 2-year inquiry into Intellectual Property (IP) protection and copyright laws. No recommendations were made to further protect designs. ‘Replica’ designs were not mentioned in the final report, and remain legal.
In Australia – furniture and lighting can be protected by design registration with IP Australia. This is expensive and complicated. Design protection lasts 5 + 5 years (10 years).
European and British designs are protected for the life time of the designer plus 70 years (*life + 70). Automatic copyright also applies to 3 dimensional objects like furniture and lighting.
In Australia – no automatic copyright applies to furniture and lighting. Film, Music, Art, Photography, Architecture, and Publishing are protected by copyright – but not furniture and lighting.
With EU & UK banning knock-offs - Australia has become the dumping ground for fake design. Read more about our PCIP Productivity Commission campaign - here.
UPDATE JUNE 2019
The government body responsible for granting and managing trade marks, patents and design registrations IP AUSTRALIA has announced a review into design systems. The ADA has worked in consultation with IP Australia, collating case studies, commentary and hosting round tables with ADA Stakeholders to present the broad reaching issues caused by design theft. The review is still continuing and as of September 2019, we have no further indication of likely changes.
We are a small team, supported by a group of independent industry professionals who contribute on a voluntary basis, led by Anne-Maree Sargeant.
With new campaigns for funding we are in the process of adding marketing and editorial staff to help roll out the program and campaigns.
Authentic Design Alliance pty ltd was established by our legal partners Banki Haddock Fiora in August 2017. The company is structured as a 'Social Enterprise Potentially for Profit'.
Prior to ADA membership re-launch in late 2017 – activity has been funded by our re-launch partners, event sponsors, and AMS Associated Marketing Services pty ltd.
An non-executive board representing a range of industry voices - will be announced later this year. Bi-annual meetings will review ADA outcomes, evaluate key objectives, and advise strategic paths forward.
ADA Platinum and Gold Premium members contribute to meeting agendas and are invied to join ADA think tanks and round table sessions.
"If it’s broken. Chuck it out.
Get another one. Right?”
Many Australians seem to think ‘the cheaper the better,' and the culture of ‘disposable decorating’ contributes to a much bigger problem – tonnes of junk furniture ending up as landfill. If we now responsibly approach food and fashion sustainability, it is time for all to consider the impact of purchasing decisions for our homes and work places. Chose well, buy once, make it last.
WHAT WE DO:
We spotlight problems surrounding design knock-offs and promote awareness about the value of original design, design history, making processes, heritage brands and the importance of #buywellbuyonce.
2. ADVOCATE FOR BETTER IP PROTECTION
Automatic copyright should apply to designed objects. 10-year design registration is not long enough to recoup investment or create sustainable income streams. IP protection must align with UK and Europe.
3. CAMPAIGN TO OUTLAW REPLICA DESIGNS
‘Replicas’ have no connection to the original design. Replicas are unauthorised, the word misleads consumers, who mistake it for a trend like 'vintage'. Replicas must be criminalised and the word eradicated.
4. SHARE DESIGN WITH EVERYONE
Our program opens ‘design’ to everyone – beyond industry to design-interested consumers and businesses. Good design does not have to be expensive, and if an item is expensive it reflects the cost of getting the product to market.
5. WORK WITH OTHER ASSOCIATIONS
Current collaborations include Australian Copyright Council (supporting our campaign for copyright review); Australian Design Centre (IP workshops); Good Design Australia (public events at VIVID Sydney) - more announced soon!
6. SUPPORT & INFORM INDUSTRY
To support, promote and create opportunities for our members, we host think tanks, talks, workshops and events to strengthen industry connectivity, education, and pro-action, and encourage industry best practice.
WE LISTEN - Our program is informed by industry, sign up for news & events.