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From the Newsdesk

A CHARTER FOR CHANGE!

In a recent article commissioned by ACID Media Partners Furniture News, Dids Macdonald highlighted the need to galvanise the sector into signing the ACID IP Charter!   

Unintended consequences from misinformed government policy can last for decades, take the recent Calls for Views on Design and IP. Ahead of a consultation in 2023, does the industry really want legal academics, lawyers, legal trade bodies, and lawyers of big multinational businesses deciding a strategy against the copycat culture tinkering about with overly technical aspects of an already complex set of design laws?

Creating an IP design and IP framework fit for purpose is not rocket science! What could be more simple? Enforceable IP rights, higher penalties, and easier access to cost and time-effective redress. Is the tail wagging the dog? 79% of responses were legally led and only 21% were from designers, design consultancies, and design-led manufacturers. This cannot provide a balanced view.

Do you suffer from IP infringement? Are jobs at risk through design theft? If there is the industry will to influence change and reform, this is a call out to those businesses facing the continuing culture of cheap lookalikes, to speak out.

Please provide ACID with case study evidence (it can be on a no-names basis), to demonstrate your economic loss through infringement. Include details of the cost and time involved in pursuing copyists generally and the fact that there is no easy enforcement. Send to the author!

Take one of our members Triclimb whose registered design child’s frame was “replicated” by Aldi. She has spent months fighting a losing battle which cost thousands. Why? Because Aldi have deep legal pockets and now, she is faced with £500K of stock she cannot sell and job losses. This can’t be right!

As Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s IP Counsel said, “Simplifying the current Design and IP legal framework, is not just about overly technical details of the law, many aspects must be taken into consideration not least societal and moral attitudes as well as an IP system that works within cost and time-effective parameters. Implementing the sage recommendations given to Government by Andrew Gowers who led an IP Review in 2006 would be a good starting point:

“IP rights, like any other rights, are only as good as their enforcement.

Enforcement of IP rights should be swift, affordable, and judicious. Below are four essential criteria:

  1. 1. awareness of rights – the public must be aware of the rights that exist and find them reasonable and acceptable.
  2. penalties for infringement – there must be adequate sanctions to prevent would be infringers from violating IP rights. Penalties can take the form of legal sanctions, both criminal and civil, or non-legal sanctions, such as codes of practice adopted by bodies to impose penalties on infringers.
  3. pursuit of infringers – it is crucial that those who ignore the law and the penalties that support it, are pursued by the relevant authorities; and
  4. mechanisms to resolve conflict – once the relevant authority apprehends an infringer the rights holder must have the means to enforce legal sanctions through the courts, or by some means outside of the courts.”

Our newly launched ACID IP Charter is an effortless way you can show your support. By becoming a signatory you declare your support for IP respect, compliance, and ethics. A fighting fund will also be set up to help the David’s fight the Goliaths of this world.

Act now, a united voice is a stronger voice against design infringement, a sanitised word for theft.

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