Berni Parker, the artist namesake of Berni Parker Designs, usually loves the interaction she has with her consumer fans all over the world, but when an innocuous Facebook post lifted the lid on an online operator that is not only proffering products based on her designs, but many other artists and publishers too, the usually mild-mannered Berni became incensed by the IP theft.
Berni told PGBuzz that she received a Facebook message from a member of a book club in Illinois, USA saying how much she loved the ‘book bag’ that she had purchased from online operator www.gearpassio.com, featuring Berni’s distinctive artwork. The fan attached an image of the bag, which depicted the ‘Read between the wines’ design from the publisher’s Ladies Who Love Life range.
“Knowing that I had not produced tote bags or had any licensee I immediately went on the website and could not believe what I found – I counted 53 of my designs that were being offered for sale on all different products. I felt so upset that my designs had been stolen,” Berni told PGBuzz.
Immediately recognising some designs from Bug Art, Church Mouse Press, Tom Cat Cards and artist Marilyn Robertson within the hundreds of designs on offer, Berni made contact with them and established that these were also being offered without any agreement with Gearpassio, which operates from China.
Berni, who has surprised herself by how incredibly angry she feels about the pernicious IP theft, urges other publishers to check if their designs feature on the website.
“It is so wrong that people are buying products from the site, paying good money for something which effectively has been stolen,” Berni said. “I hope that say Disney, whose brands are also on offer on the site, takes action in China and ensures that justice is done. In the meantime, we can help by spreading the word on social media.”
The Gearpassio online store brags that the designs are ‘compiled from all across the world. We strive to bring the best designs to ours [sic] customers’.
We have been selling physical products for a year and our customers are very satisfied with our service. They usually send us photos wearing our stuff on which they say that receive a lot of compliments.