Design Law – is it fit for purpose? ACID offers potential solutions

The UK’s design economy is a thriving, dynamic force, providing jobs for almost 2 million people and contributing nearly £100bn to the UK’s GVA in 2021. For centuries British design and engineering have been the bedrock of innovation, and yet, ACID, the trade association for designers and manufacturers, believe lone, micro and SMEs in the design sector are not satisfactorily supported by the current IP system.

The organisation has presented Government with potential solutions to address an outdated set of design laws that are not fit for purpose. ACID is asking for a simplifying of the complexity of design law and enabling access to enforcement that is more cost and time effective.

They want design law to be strengthened with a tangible deterrent against copying. This includes a strong recommendation of the introduction of criminal sanctions for the deliberate infringement of an unregistered design, in line with those who rely on copyright.

ACID want design creatives, like furniture makers and lighting designers, to have the same robust level of IP rights as other creatives such as song writers and film makers.

2022 presented a rare opportunity for designers and manufacturers to answer the question posed by Government (the Intellectual Property Office) about design law in a series of questionnaires and Call for Views.

Continuing high level talks with the IPO have given ACID the opportunity to offer potential solutions prior to a Designs Consultation in 2023 when the framework for design and IP will be examined.

They have set out a Top 10 of suggested solutions of legal and procedural ideas for consideration.

Dids Macdonald OBE., CEO of ACID said, “The continuing culture of “David & Goliath” copying must be addressed and promulgated because design (IP) law is too costly and complex to enable SMEs to enforce. The consequences of which are chilling for innovation, leading to business uncertainty and untold stress. Design law reform has been largely ignored for over two decades.

For a sector that punches well above its weight, contributing nearly £100 billion to the UK’s GVA and employing nearly two million in design and design skills, the precious asset that is our intellectual property underpinning this sector cannot continue to be ignored by policy makers. The 2023 Designs Consultation is a gold nugget for government to make positive changes.”

To find out more about ACID visit:

Fetcham Park provides ideal home for ACID’s Chief Legal Counsel and IP Director

Fetcham Park is home to IP Lawyer Nick Kounoupias [link]. Kounoupias IP is a management consultancy, set up to help businesses understand, manage and protect their intellectual property. While the firm advises clients across the IP sectors, it has a specialism with the creative sector. Nick is also the Chief Legal Counsel and IP Director for ACID.

Find out what attracted Nick and fellow IP Lawyer Iain Russell to base their firms at Fetcham Park in our recent story.

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