JJ Valaya accuses Neeru's of plagiarism, raises questions over intellectual copyright

The traditional wear couture designer JJ Valaya has accused the traditional wear brand Neeru’s of stealing his design but Neeru’s has swiftly denied this claim.

JJ Valaya says his design (left) was stolen by Neeru's (right) - JJ Valaya- Instagram

After seeing one of the images from Neeru’s new advertising campaign featuring their new brand ambassador Sonam Kapoor, the designer JJ Valaya took to social media to express his outrage, claiming that the design looked too similar to one of his own: “And it continues, the unflinching audacity to create “inspired” design! On the left is the JJ Valaya Couture Original (created in 2016) and on the right, an evidently ‘inspired’ version by someone called neeru. What makes it worse for me personally is that it’s worn by my unsuspecting friend Sonam Kapoor, who I consider one of India’s biggest fashion influencers and who I also know will whack this person on the head when she sees this! We all go through this constantly, months of research put into a collection which goes on ramp for 20 minutes, only to be cloned in days. A pity especially when you’re in a country like India which is blessed with endless bank of inspiration itself."

In similar cases earlier this year, Rohit Bal and Rahul Mishra both accused others of stealing their designs, but neither resulted in successful legal pursuits. As India has few landmark cases on intellectual property law in the fashion sphere, it is hard to decipher what counts as inspiration and what counts as theft and as more designers flag the issue, it will have to be addressed both for the accusers and the accused.

Valaya said about his plans to take the matter forward: “This menace is being targeted as a major focus area from [a] legal aspect. Whilst it’s difficult to stop this completely in a country as large as ours, selective yet very effective legal action will be taken to curb it as much as possible.”

However, Neeru’s denied that they took their design from one of Valaya’s and said they just happened to look alike. “We at the design label completely deny the claim. This is an original creation and not copied from any designer,” said the brand in an official statement.

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