With so may crafters out there, the creative industry has a common problem - plagiarism. When you see that a particular product is successful for a business owner, you may be tempted to emulate their work hoping it will be successful for yourself.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but, copying someones work just isn't good business practice. It can be OK to use ideas as inspiration or to learn a new technique, but, this must be treat as a means to an end and not a route to the final product.
As a designer, you must exercise great caution when you reproduce an existing pattern or image. You must check any copyrights and that images are royalty free.
We all know by now that the craft market is extremely competitive and designers need to consider protecting their work. The two main means of this are patents and registering for a copyright. In a nutshell, patents are for new discoveries and inventions whereas a copyright protects original works of authorship including illustrations, patterns and photographs.
Once you own the copyright, you have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the work and create any derivatives.
Obviously registering for a copyright or a patent will not prevent someone else form making something similar but, if someone were to reproduce your work as a mirror image, you will have the necessary legal protection in place.