To the outside world, the Philippine accessories design scene has been a celebration of Filipino artistry, originality and skill, with local designers proudly representing the Philippine flag in design expos and competitions abroad—and earning praise and awards in the process.
Back home, however, the local design scene has been more litigious than ever, with one designer—let’s call her A—reportedly suing a couple of her fellow designers, not for copying A’s work (as you might expect in these kinds of disputes), but first, for allegedly insinuating that A copied the works of other designers, thus defaming A; and, second, for emotional distress.
The first suit, our little birdie tells us, stemmed from a social-media post by designer B, which included two photos side-by-side of similar-looking works by A and another designer, C.
“B didn’t say whose works they were at first, but people in the thread were asking, so B relented,” said our source, a longtime industry insider. “Now A is suing her… Of course, we all knew C has been doing that design for a long time, so go figure.”
Though she has won her share of awards here and abroad, A is a relative newbie in the industry.
When reached for comment, A (who, on the advice of her lawyer, can’t be identified by name) said B bashed her on Facebook and accused her of being a copycat, not just of C’s works but also of B’s. “She accused me of copying her choker… I didn’t know her and she was saying these things about me. Yes, I can confirm I’ve filed a cyber libel case against her.”
A, however, clarified that she wasn’t suing another designer, D, but A’s previous lawyer did send D a warning letter following a verbal spat at a local design expo a few years ago.
“He was badmouthing me,” A said of D. “I felt so belittled. He was screaming at me at my booth.”
Designer B said she would consult with her lawyer about giving a statement, and didn’t get back to us as of press time.