A former FIT student is suing her alma mater for allegedly stealing a design that she entered into a competition and selling it for profit at Barnes & Noble, according to the New York Daily News. Diana Rubio, along with her fellow students, were told they had to enter a competition to earn one third of her year's grade by creating a “Back to Campus” idea for a collaboration with the bookstore in 2010. Rubio is now claiming that her idea is what is now known as the best-selling “Everything Backpack” that is stocked at Barnes & Noble.
Initially, Rubio’s design was only going to be part of Barnes & Noble’s “2011 Back to Campus Design by Students for Students collection." However, the bag was such a success that Barnes & Noble has extended its run and now sells multiple versions. Now, Rubio is making her fight public after quietly trying to work out a deal with Barnes & Noble and FIT. Rubio is suing for copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and unspecified money damages.
It seems that Barnes & Noble and FIT went ahead with production of the bag without Rubio’s approval. A letter from Barnes & Noble in 2011 notified Rubio that the bag would be put into production, but she claims that questions to find out more went unanswered. Then, FIT attempted to get Rubio to sign a “rights and consent” form that stated Rubio would receive no "money or other payment from any source" in exchange for her design. Obviously, this letter went unsigned. The only consolation is recognition: both FIT and Rubio, the only one in the deal not receiving any cuts of the profit, are credited on the tag.
Barnes & Noble has declined to reveal profits made off the bag, but it's not hard to assume given the $39.95 price tag, extended run, and free design that there's more than enough to share with the deserving designer.
[via New York Daily News]