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Image source: marketing-interactive.com
Image source: marketing-interactive.com

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Malaysian company Cenergi SEA called out for stealing an idea pitched by design company Dxclusive

A government-linked Malaysian company is at the center of criticism for the alleged rip-off of a vendor’s design proposal for an exhibition.

Diana Chew, the founder of design company Dxclusive, proposed a few designs for Cenergi SEA Bhd’s booth for the International Sustainable Energy Summit 2022.

However, she was unable to take up the assignment due to pricing pressure from the company.

A week later, she found out that Cenergi hired another vendor and was asked to copy Chew’s approved design as they were falling short of time.

On her Facebook post, she said that Cenergi had unethically copied 95% of her company’s proposed design, from the dimensions and colors to poster mapping.

Chew contacted the company citing plagiarism and asked them to pay for the design rights. She even warned them of a possible lawsuit.

However, she was told that the company did not copy her design and the request for proposal clearly stated that the design rights belong to them.

Cenergi also issued a Facebook statement stating that it was “assessing these allegations” and its next step would be to “determine the best course of action."

As idea theft is very common in Malaysia’s marketing and advertising industry, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) has been advocating ethical behaviors by companies to whom the ideas are pitched.

In 2018, 4As Malaysia even criticized clients who demanded ownership of IP during the request for proposal (RFP) stage.

The 4As believe this approach is like clients asking for ideas without payment and considers the practice "unethical and unfair" and demanded it to "cease immediately".

It urged agencies not to take part in RFPs that require them to cede ownership of the strategies and concepts they propose in new business proposals.

Responding to Cenergi’s episode, it encouraged companies to “respect the IP of the authors of plans, strategy, ideas and designs and to adopt ethical behavior.”

According to Chew’s latest comment on Facebook, she said Cenergi and her company have reached an amicable solution.

PitchMark recently covered two stories about similar rip-off experiences by advertising agencies in the United States and Singapore.

Kristen Cavallo, CEO of the US-based creative advertising agency Martin Agency accused US-based cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase of stealing her idea for the 60-second Super Bowl ad that was a massive hit.

In Singapore, 7-Eleven was accused of copying images for its recent Hawker Fiesta 2022 campaign from creative studio 8EyedSpud’s artwork for Hawker Culture 2020. Since then, 7-Eleven has removed all posts of this campaign from their social media channels.

PitchMark helps innovators deter idea theft, so that third-parties that they share their idea with get the idea but don’t take it. Visit PitchMark.net and register for free as a PitchMark member today.

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Mark Laudi

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