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Rubber Duck To Be Protected During Beijing Design Week

Issued: July 01 2013

When Dutch designer Florentijn Hofman’s giant yellow rubber duck visited Hong Kong in May, it spawned knockoffs across China. The duck will return to China in September to help promote intellectual property awareness.

Dutch designer Florentijn Hofman is bringing his world famous yellow rubber duck to Beijing Design Week to help promote awareness of intellectual property, event organizers said at a press conference in June.


The duck  visited its 13th destination in May, Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, where it attracted millions of visitors – and woke up infringers in the Chinese mainland, who manufactured and sold a variety of fake duck merchandise, including clothes and toys both in China and Hong Kong.


The Beijing Design Week organizing committee said that the copyright protection of the duck will be a focus of the week, and lawyers have been invited to provide advice.


“We  want  to  use  the  rubber  duck  case  to  promote  awareness  of  intellectual  property  rights among  the  Chinese  people,”  Wang  Jun,  a  senior  consultant  at  the  event’s  IP  protection  office, said  at  the  press  conference. “Any opportunistic copying is a great disrespect to the artist and is harmful to the development of the Chinese creative industries.”


Hofman and the committee are therefore ready to act against knockoffs and will design and license official duck products for the week, said Jun.


Zhu  Jibin, a copyright lawyer  in Nanning, told Nanguo Morning News that the copyright of the duck should be protected as an artistic object. “If an individual makes a replica just for study or research, it is not infringement,” Jibin said. “But it could constitute infringement if someone copies it for commercial use to generate profit, whether for exhibition or sale.”


Hofman completed the 26-meter-tall rubber duck for display in the Netherlands in 2007, and later made other sizes for cities including London, Osaka, Sydney and Sao Paolo. Beijing Design Week takes place from September 26 to October 3.


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