2018 BREXIT – ACID URGES GOVERNMENT TO ACT DECISIVELY TO PROTECT DESIGNERS’ IP

Brexit – Evidence to Support Parity of UK UDR with EU UDR

In shocking new evidence following research by Anti Copying in Design (ACID)  90% said that copying was blatant and deliberate and 100% of those surveyed have called on Government to ensure that post Brexit UK designers’ P rights will not be eroded. They are calling on Government to introduce a new law which will offer the same EU unregistered IP rights’ protection as they now enjoy in 28 member states together with the strong EU wide protection currently afforded which arises automatically.

For the UK’s fashion, furniture, lighting and product designers it will be calamitous if they lose this protection. 99% of those surveyed raised various degrees of concern, all were unanimous that Brexit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to strengthen IP rights for UK designers.

Rob Law, MBE., MD of Magmatic t/a Trunki My company Magmatic Ltd T/A Trunki designs and manufactures children’s travel products. “We employ 80 people at our Head office in Bristol and manufacturing facility in Plymouth. Our turnover is approximately £8.5million, all of which is generated by products protected by registered and unregistered design. If we lose protection of our unregistered rights in 28 member states, and are unable to enforce our rights, we predict approximately 25% of our sales could be lost. This could effectively quarter our turnover and lose approximately 20% of our workforce.”

Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s Chief Counsel said, “Post-Brexit copyright will be about nuanced changes made to existing protection. But for design, Brexit offers an existential threat because of the possible loss of EU laws. UK designers will be severely disadvantaged if they lose EU unregistered design rights, on which the majority rely. EU design laws, both registered and unregistered, protect the individual character of a design in particular as they relate to the shape, texture, contours, lines, colours, ornamentation and materials of the design. UK UDR protects only the shape and configuration of a design. Entire design sectors such as fashion, lighting and furniture rely on the EU scope to protect their 3D designs;

ACID is pressing Government to introduce a new law which mirrors the protection afforded by EU unregistered design, replacing existing UK Unregistered design to put UK designers on a level playing field with their EU counterparts in terms of IP protection.”

Dids Macdonald, OBE CEO of ACID said, “With design and desk skills worth £209billion to the UK’s GVA the Government cannot be cavalier in eroding any design protection. The majority of the UK’s designers rely on unregistered rights and it will be calamitous if this important area of what is a very complex set of laws does not receive special attention post Brexit.”

Billed as a “Golden Age within 2 years” and “A new agreement would be the easiest in history” by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, the impact of Brexit is probably one of the most potentially economically damaging periods our country has experienced in a time when Britain has gone from the fastest growing economy of the G7 to the slowest. It is essential that the intellectual capital upon which our economic growth has existed is not further undermined in ongoing negotiations.

With a little over a year until the UK leaves the EU, ACID, along with other stakeholders, is seriously concerned that the business interests of IP rich companies who rely on trade marks and designs are and will be threatened. There does not appear to be any leadership in decision making to provide certainty when Brexit becomes a reality and the consequences thereafter. This is very concerning not least because of the complexity of administrative and procedural issues around the various IP rights. There is little doubt that UK businesses need certainty in this complex legal area.

View the ACID video on Brexit