Flattery, or theft?

RegaLead’s Guy Hubble asks if imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.

What value does copycatting bring to the glazing market? I ask because we’ve recently noticed an increase in the number of companies and products that are coming to market with dumbed-down versions of RegaLead’s decorative glass designs.

While we have no objections to healthy competition, which drives innovation and delivers value, we fail to see how these tactics drive the market forward in any way. Isn’t this flattery, in fact, theft?

We certainly aren’t the first or last in the industry to have our work poorly imitated for someone else’s financial gain, and we aren’t the only company who has resorted to legal action in the past. Decorative glass design is an artistic work and a truly creative process, which is an area that is clearly protected under copyright laws.

For the last 35 years, we have built our business on the creativity and innovation of our people. In the 1990s, we were the first company to bring glass bevels to the UK and transform the decorative glass market. We also developed the coloured films that are now treated as the industry standard. We have never been afraid to innovate and take risks with new ideas.

We create unique designs to give customers more choice and upselling opportunities, as we all know decorative glass is a major contributor to selling a door and making a good profit. We are firm believers that attention to detail is of utmost importance to the design process and that £1,000+ doors, and the customers who buy them, deserve well-designed, quality glass products.

However, as with many things in life, there will always be someone who can do it cheaper, but at what cost? The dumbing down of a glass design not only reduces the aesthetic value, but its performance too. We have invested time, technical development and significant money into our decorative glass designs to make them look fantastic and perform well, so that the glass unit is not the weak link in the door. After all, a composite door warranty is only as valid as the weakest link.

This includes ensuring that our IGUs are Document Q and Document L compliant and tested to EN1279, so that customers can CE mark with confidence with access to complete documentary evidence. We also operate the ISO:9001 and deliver consistency in design for the whole door system, with suited sidelights and toplights.

When installers and fabricators are buying decorative glass, they shouldn’t assume that because the glass looks similar that it will perform the same. They aren’t just buying the aesthetics that help to sell doors. They are buying the performance, the testing, the compliance, the certainty, and the confidence that the glass being fitted isn’t the weak link in their composite door.