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About ACID

Our History & Heritage

Your Voice Against Design Theft

ACID is the UK’s leading design and intellectual property campaigning organisation. We are a forward-thinking trade association for designers and manufacturers; a not-for-profit organisation funded by membership fees. Our aim is to provide cost effective tips, advice, and guidelines to help our members protect their intellectual property to achieve growth through a proactive IP strategy.

To retain the integrity of our membership, all potential members must be designers or have a design capability and the majority of their products must be designed either in-house or by commissioned designers. We also welcome manufacturers to join ACID who have entered into license agreements with freelance designers in which the intellectual property rights are assigned to the manufacturer.

Our Mission

To raise awareness and encourage respect for IP - whilst creating a safer trading environment for members.

Our Vision

To eradicate design theft, educate our community on IP laws and continue campaigning for criminal provisions for unregistered rights.
0 %

of SMEs do not have an overall IP policy

0 %

of SMEs do not check for potential infringements

0 %

of SMEs do not take any action to protect their designs


jobs are lost annually due to counterfeiting, piracy & copying in the EU

Why was ACID founded?

ACID’s CEO Dids Macdonald was a successful product designer in the 1980’s producing hand painted decorative accessories for top interior designers. It was a great success. But it came with a huge problem: theft. Every new design was knocked off by larger companies without any hope of redress. Like the vast majority of Britain’s 350,000 design companies, they were a tiny outfit and not in a position to take on the unscrupulous thieves and copycats. They had no idea where to start.

So Dids and an IP lawyer who had helped her (Simon Clark) came up with another idea: to create a plan to help David fight Goliath. Today ACID represents thousands of designers. We’re here to help the good guys defeat the bad and also promote design originality as a real route to growth for the creator, not design thieves!

What is ACID?

What do we do?

We shout loudly through all media channels about the need for communicated IP respect, compliance & ethics in CSR. We support exhibitors at exhibitions with mediation. We hold events – seminars, workshops and offer IP Audits. We try to take the legalese out of IP law with simple Q & A. We have a free membership IP hotline that is hot!

We campaign for design law reform through ACID Action and are active members of the Alliance for Intellectual Property. We have the ACID IP Databank which supports protection and ACID Marketplace an online platform which promotes and tracks. We have developed the ACID brand as a brand of deterrence and prevention, members use it far and wide to communicate one thing: a zero tolerance of IP theft.

Why do we do it?

Because we believe the UK’s designers, the majority of them lone, micro and SME, deserve better; to protect their livelihoods, to maximise growth and minimise IP infringement. ACID is committed to raising awareness and encouraging respect for IP within individual and corporate responsibility and creating a safer trading environment for its members.

Our members and a broad range of advocates who share our passion for helping UK designers protect their IP to achieve sustained growth – Ambassadors, Legal Affiliates, Government and Policy officials, partner organisations and key influencers in the design community. Our and their collective aim is to communicate the importance of intellectual property to designers’ sustained commercial success.

ACID Achievement & Successes to Date

ACID has achieved a lot in its 25-year history; from its campaigning that culminated in the 2014 IP Act – making the intentional infringement of a Registered Design a punishable criminal offence – to its involvement in many thousands of mediations and settlements. Click below to read about ACID’s triumphs and ongoing campaigning.

More on Campaigning
Read more about our achievements