Etsy Seller Accuses Target Of Stealing Her American Flag Tee Shirt Design

An Oregon woman and stay-at-home mom by the name of Melissa Lay is accusing Target of stealing her unique tee shirt designs. The Etsy seller believes that the major retailer stole the exact same design that's featured on her American flag tank tops.

Lay said that she started receiving text messages from friends about her American flag tank top being sold at Target. But there's one little problem. She doesn't sell her tee shirts and tanks at Target.

Lay only sells her shirts for adults and kids from her Sandilake Clothing line on her business website and her Etsy store. She believes that Target stole her design for a tank top that featured her black-and-white American flag logo and the unique hashtag #Merica.

Lay went to a local Target and shared a photo of herself wearing her own design while holding one of Target's tanks. She shared the photo on Instagram and told her followers that the designs are "identical." It's too much of a coincidence that Target would use Lay's designs on their own tank tops.

What's the difference between Lay's tank top and the version sold at Target? The one sold at Target has a distressed American flag on it. It's also made in Guatemala instead of Lay's garage, where she prints all of her shirts. Much of Target's clothing either looks distressed or worn. Lay's version costs $25, while Target sells their tank for $12.99.

Lay is not sitting back on this matter. She is taking action, but she is not suing the retail giant. In another Instagram post she shared on Tuesday, Lay wrote that she "wanted to bring this open to bring awareness, not necessarily to take legal action." She also took the time out of her hectic and busy schedule to thank her over 15,000 followers for their continued support.

The Portland woman is still undecided on her next course of action. Lay told KATU that it would be risky for her to take the case to court.

"I would have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to fix this, and I still might lose. I don't know what I'll do."
However, ABC News claims that Lay is now considering legal action. Corporate legal expert Stacey Dogan told the news station that Lay would have copyright her American flat design before filing a lawsuit against Target; however, the designer could still be entitled to damages.

The designer did write a letter of complaint to Target's corporate office. The company has released a statement.

"Target has a deep appreciation for great design and it has always been our policy to respect the intellectual property rights of others. We are aware of this issue and are in the process of reaching out to the designer."
Melissa Lay says that she wants to fight for small businesses and other designers who experience the same problems with Target and other retailers.

What are your thoughts on her situation? Do you think she should sue Target for stealing her tee shirt design?

[Image: Melissa Lay/Instagram]