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Target pulls shirts after stay-at-home mom claims her design was copied

by Scott Stump /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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In the wake of a controversy in which a designer claimed Target copied her design for a shirt, the company is in the process of pulling the black tank top from stores.

"I have heard from Target, and thankfully they took out all of the shirts from their stores,'' Melissa Lay, the owner of Sandilake Clothing, said on TODAY Thursday. "That's kind of the latest news that I have. That's step one that they're pulling all the shirts, and I have heard that even if you try to bring the shirt to the counter, they won't sell it to you."

The black tank top with an American flag logo and the hashtag #Merica on it is one of the most popular items sold by Lay, a stay-at-home mom from Milwaukie, Oregon, who started selling the shirts on her website and on Etsy in April of 2014. Lay was alerted by friends that Target was selling a strikingly similar version before she went to a local Target and saw for herself, posting a picture on Instagram while wearing her shirt and holding up the one sold at Target.

Lay does not have a copyright on the image due to the high cost. Target was selling the shirt for $12.99, compared to the $25 for Lay's tank top. Lay said she was told by Target that the shirts were made by a third-party vendor.

"Target has a deep appreciation for great design and it has always been our policy to respect the intellectual property rights of others,'' the company said in a statement to TODAY. "We are aware of this issue and are in the process of reaching out to the designer. We're continuing to look into this matter and are in the process of removing the tee from our assortment."

Lay is also hoping her story can bring to light the great work done by other small businesses run by stay-at-home moms.

"I'm not worried about it,'' she said when asked if she expects any type of payment from Target. "Really it's more about mom-run businesses, bringing exposure to moms like me that are working from home and doing a lot more than just taking care of their kids, but they're starting businesses. It's pretty amazing."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+.

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