Two years ago, artist and cycling enthusiast Jennifer Daniel (Graphics Director at Bloomberg BusinessWeek) contributed computer wallpaper to Los Angeles design blog The Fox is Black. The image, a bicycle chain in the shape of a heart, soon became what Daniel calls "probably my most popular image," licensed to bike shops in New York and London. Two years later, yoga suppliers Lululemon started selling a water bottle with a remarkably similar design, down to the number of links in the chain. Daniels noticed the similarity and, over the Thanksgiving weekend, took to her blog:
It is, I'll admit, not the most sophisticated of concepts. But it's [sic] origins come from a personal place--falling in love and biking in the city. (Like I said, not the most sophisticated of concepts). Lots of people have turned bike chains into hearts but what makes Lululemon's especially offensive is that it's a reprint of my exact drawing--minus a link.
This is only the latest story in which a large retailer has sold a design without crediting the artist who originated it: last year, Feral Childe sued Forever 21 for copying a textile design; the year before, Jeremy Scott complained about Hot Topic's imitation of his Mouse Trap sunglasses (currently listed as sold out on Hot Topic's site). Lululemon themselves only last week settled a complaint against Calvin Klein for infringing on patented yoga pants, but haven't commented on the water bottle. Daniel notes that she has registered a copyright on her design, which is still available as a free download or a $5 temp tat.