Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - March/April 2022

49 ACID Make your voice heard ACID campaign for a government review on design IP is successful, says Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti Copying in Design (ACID) Yes, it’s true, after a decade of cajoling, heckling, and sending compelling case study evidence ACID, with the help of Nick Kounoupias, Chief Counsel, has achieved a once in a lifetime opportunity for all designers/manufacturers to have a say in the future of design protection in the UK in a current review, which closes on 25th March. Designers’ livelihoods matter and this is dependent upon a Design Intellectual Property framework that is fit for purpose. The UK Giftware sector thrives on innovation through good design. Sadly, only good design gets copied. Creating a product 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 other IP infringement. If you go to the Intellectual Property Office website, you can complete the Call for Views at consultations/reviewing-the-designs-framework-call-for-views/ call-for-views-on-designs So, this is a call out to all those who are affected by copycats and those who steal original designs and take the fast track to market. Consider the following: • Do you think the current IP framework (design IP) is 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 is infringed? • Is there a level playing field for designers against copyists? Especially in David and Goliath cases? ACID has recently witnessed a spate of copying issues by some very well-known retailers who continue to ride rough shod over small innovative companies. The lone, micro and SME innovator has little chance of redress because of the cost and time to fight these retail giants. • So, the question here begs, “Is there cost & timely access to effective enforcement? Is litigation the luxury of the few? • The UK Intellectual Property Office (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 (92% 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? ACID Ambassador Sebastian Conran says, “From iconic to everyday design is all around us, improving our lives, providing solutions. Design Matters!” Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s Chief Counsel continued, “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.” While 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.” Please take the time to complete the Call for Views which closes on March 25th; it is your opportunity to voice your thoughts. If some of the questions are not relevant, it is not necessary to complete them. Alternatively email for help. To find out more, visit