Harnessing The Power of Your Intellectual Property

One of the best ways for an interior designer to harness the power of their intellectual property can be found in a tiktok or instagram search. Dupe, the other four-letter word, means to trick or deceive but across the interwebs #dupe is a deal. Most often, it’s a copy of an original something—fashion, furniture, product—for cheap. It’s the word millennials and Gen Z’s use to make knock-offs sound cool, instead of slimy. Searches for #dupe on social media number in the billions. In fact, data from Google Trends show that searches for “dupe” have shot up since 2019. Probably because influencers have built businesses selling them for affiliate commissions.

You may say there is a customer at every price point or imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, until you spend a whole lot of time designing a custom piece of furniture, or a rug, or fabric, and it gets knocked off. Then, like most creatives I know, you’ll be mad.

It’s In The Zeitgeist

I’m a big believer that certain ideas pop into the zeitgeist because it’s time, which is why it’s common for more than one person to have the same idea at once. It’s why Apple and IBM came onto the scene at the same time and why, as a story producer, I’ve received the same pitch idea from strangers on different sides of the country more than once. Some ideas get traction, earn media attention, become mainstream and create opportunity, and earn big bucks. Others don’t, and that’s where the trouble starts.

Who knows how many people thought up personal computing devices? But only a few took action in the way that those now-ubiquitous brands did. From a legal standpoint, ideas can’t be copyrighted, but the expression of them can.

Harnessing The Power of Your Intellectual Property

It’s a slippery slope, because the foundation of learning is imitation. As babies we learn to hold a spoon and later as artists, we are taught the how-to of our craft. In the beginning, copying is a requirement of the creative process; so is inspiration. You’ll often hear creative people say they were inspired by so-and-so when they made something. Being inspired by the work of another maker, artist, or designer is one of the most beautiful parts of the creative process, but deliberating ripping off another artist because you can make it cheaper is another.

The way you evolve creatively, copyright, patents, and everything that falls into the realm of your Intellectual Property (IP) is what will change your trajectory from designer to leader. I’ll be talking about all of this next Wednesday May 29th for Business of Home in a Launch Workshop called, Harnessing The Power of Your Intellectual Property between 1-3. Join me!

Comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



work with us


buy the


The difference between unknowns, design leaders and legends is a factor of visibility. Branding + Interior Design is the quintessential handbook for next-gen design leaders.

Check out my