IP Minister Issues Invitation for Designers to Be Involved With Future Intellectual Property Design

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    ACID (Anti Copying In Design) welcomes an open invitation to the UK design sector from Baroness Wilcox, Minister for Intellectual Property, to shape future IP Design Policy, at an event held at the Design Council to encourage initial debate on what makes the design industry tick. Baroness Wilcox said, “I urge the business community to participate in this call for evidence and help shape the future of design in the UK.” This could not come at a more timely moment following Professor Hargreaves recommendations that this sector of the creative industries had been neglected in the past. Baroness Wilcox also stated that, “Investment in design in the UK contributed £33 billion or 2.4% of the UK’s GDP in 2008.” Dids Macdonald, CEO of ACID, a panellist at the event said, “This is a very encouraging start, but it will only be effective if the whole design sector is prepared to contribute with real evidence and case studies, to highlight some of the challenges facing design through IP infringement – and Government then listens and acts. This is a huge opportunity for designers to speak out about their IP issues!”

    Macdonald continued, “Innovation happens irrespective of IP rights but designers should demand a robust IP framework from which to achieve growth through ROI, reinforced by a realistic, cost and time effective legal framework to address infringement, with appropriate exemplary damages. Without this, growth will be eroded and jobs threatened. This, alone, would go a long way to discourage those who take the fast track to market by free riding on the back of the UK’s designers who are, undoubtedly, some of the best in the world.”

    Design rights are complex. The majority of the UK’s 232,000 designers do not rely on registered rights and have less than 4 employees. Therefore, it can be too expensive to take legal action, not to mention the debilitating negative effects which make running a small design led business almost impossible in the face of the uncertainty of potential infringement. More importantly, Britain’s designers do not have the significant benefit that European counterparts have in being able to rely on unfair competition law.

    ACID will be working closely and positively alongside the UKIPO to ensure that design’s voice is heard loudly and clearly with the creation of sound policy and tangible actions to support this important part of the economy.

    The IPO announced the following statement on 21st September.

    The Government has today issued a ‘call for evidence’ in relation to the design sector and launched a supporting online questionnaire/survey aimed at business.

    Baroness Wilcox announced the publication of the first phase of research into the use of design rights in the UK. The research shows that the most intensive spenders on design in the UK are business services, manufacturing and construction sectors. Relative to other countries in Europe the UK spends significantly on design related products and services; but there is very low awareness of design rights. The research also found that registered design rights are used mainly in specific business sectors, such as furniture and clothing.

    Daniel Fountain / 30.09.2011

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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