‘There is no such thing as an original idea,’ so goes the old adage, but at what point does the recycling of ideas cross a blurred line and stray into the realms of plagiarism? Within the design fraternity, intellectual property is considered sacrosanct and to not treat it as such creates a whole variety of ethical issues. However, beyond questions of ethics, plagiarism can also have a profoundly negative effect on some businesses, as well as incurring legal ramifications in some cases.

The central issue with plagiarism is that, when done successfully, it is directly stealing business, as well as intellectual property, from another studio. “This is not about vanity, ego or that I feel like someone has done me wrong, that is not the point,” explained Luiz de Basto, owner and founder of his eponymous design studio, to The Superyacht Report in issue 184. “This is business and this is income, this is my life and this is my designers’ lives; these are the things that I have to protect here.”

De Basto explained that, at that moment in time, he was considering the commencement of court proceedings against another well-known superyacht design studio that, according to de Basto, had been tendering a design in collaboration with a shipyard that had been plagiarised from an earlier design of his. The yard in question has acknowledged that the design being tendered showcases more than a casual similarity to de Basto’s work.

At The Superyacht Design Forum 2018 Elena Cristofori, a lawyer at Rapisardi Intellectual Property, a law firm that specialises in the protection of intellectual property, and Russell Edson, partner and patent attorney at Withers & Rogers’ Advanced Engineering and Design groups, will lead a workshop for delegates on how they can protect their creative investments and protect themselves from accusations of plagiarism.

Protection against plagiarism, from both sides, should be an essential part of any superyacht designer’s arsenal. This workshop is must attend.

The Superyacht Design Forum will take place on the 26 and 27 June at London’s renowned Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Click here to get your ticket or here to read the full programme.

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