“From iconic to everyday design is all around us, improving our lives, providing solutions. Design Matters!” ACID Ambassador Sebastian Conran

Following their recent survey on the Designs Framework, the IPO have now also announced a major Call for Views on Design and IP, which is long overdue to support an important UK sector that is a USP on a world stage so eloquently communicated by Danny Boyle in the 2012 London Olympics. Design is a national and international asset for Great Britain and is also an impressive export sector. We all need to shout much more loudly about Design UK’s achievements both nationally and internationally. This is an excellent opportunity for designers/manufacturers and all those engaged who use design to innovate in many different sectors to examine whether current design laws are fit for purpose and respond by reviewing the existing Designs Framework.

Complete the Call for Views here even if you have already completed the earlier survey.

ACID’s Chief Executive Dids Macdonald, OBE., CEO of ACID said “Designers’ livelihoods matter and this is dependent upon a Design IP framework which is fit for purpose. From the seed of idea to market reality takes sweat equity, time, and finance not to mention all the other aspects of R & D, prototyping et al. Design infringement is a sanitised word for theft and it is critical that designers are supported by a law that has a real deterrent factor. The introduction of criminal provisions for the intentional infringement of an unregistered design (in line with copyright protection) would act as a real deterrent as a minimum. After-all, most UK designers rely on unregistered rights. We believe that individual directors should also be liable in line with the IP Act of 2014.”

Designers continue to be baffled by a law that makes it a criminal offence to copy a two-dimensional design drawing but when that drawing is converted into a 3D product there is no criminal offence involved should it be copied. This is both unfair and ridiculous. Ten years ago the then Prime Minister said that design law had been neglected. Sadly, ten years later design protection has been eroded as we left the EU. This Call for Views is timely to provide less complicated laws which are cost and time effective to enforce for UK’s designers who are some of the most innovative in the world. Design law must be future proofed to keep pace with new, exciting technologies such as AI and 3/4/5D printing.”

Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s Chief Counsel said, “I’m pleased that designers have been given the opportunity to explain once again how British laws need to change to better protect them. Designs law is currently over complex and not fit for purpose. Criminalising unregistered design right infringement to bring parity with copyright protection is the least they and we can expect.”

Design Council’s Chief Design Officer, Cat Drew, said: “Intellectual Property rights are fundamental to the business of design. We want a design IP system that keeps pace with and reflects new technologies and global markets. It’s important that people from across the design industry give their views on the current IP framework and how it can be improved for designers. As part of our Design Economy work, we are looking at ways to enable designers to provide more value for people and planet, and we will be looking carefully at the suggestions emerging within this important review by the IPO.”

ACID is intent on asking the questions and sharing views on key issues for designers:

  • Is the current IP framework (designs) fit for purpose? If it is way too complex even for lawyers, then how can designers understand it in the first place and use it effectively to achieve growth and to enforce if it infringed
  • Is it a level playing field for designers against copyists? Especially in David and Goliath cases?
  • Is there cost & timely access to effective enforcement? Is litigation the luxury of the few?
  • The IPO say they have one of the best IP systems in the world. This may be true for big business but is it for lone, micro and SME creatives? (To date enforcement continues to be cost and time prohibitive)
  • Do you believe that copying is blatant and deliberate (90% in our recent survey thought it was blatant and intentional)?
  • Do you support the view that the introduction of criminal provisions for unregistered design right infringement (and individual company directors) will provide a robust deterrence against intentional infringement (we do)? The IPO says it will be chilling for innovation and lead to business uncertainty. What are your views?

Please email us to discuss any element of the Calls for Views which is unclear info@acid.uk.com


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