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From the Newsdesk

Copycat Culture Reported on ITV’s This Morning

The ever-present threat of designers being copied is a wholesale issue for every society, every country, and every designer, large or small. ITV’s news show, “This Morning”, highlighted this statement, with their story on the exponential rise of counterfeit goods. According to the latest OECD figures, trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising.

Pawnbroker, Dan Hatfield, discussed the prevalence of counterfeiting; alarmingly, at least 1 in 5 people have unknowingly bought counterfeit items. He focused on advice about how to spot counterfeit goods and in turn not to become a victim of buying a fake item. You can see the full news story here. There is significant evidence to prove a link between counterfeits and organised crime.

However, as well as the victims of counterfeiting and piracy, designers are also real victims. It could be argued that the kinds of items which are counterfeit are mostly from big design brands such as Louis Vuitton.  But copycat culture is pervasive and its continuance is proliferating to become the norm, adversely affecting smaller designer brands with less income, less clout, and lesser-known names in which to defend themselves.

ACID has a diverse membership, many of whom have struggled and fought, won and lost, against design theft. It is a continual and hard battle to defend IP rights. Losing IP rights, through design theft, could mean losing income, business, and can be detrimental to mental health.

To protect designers and stamp out the copycat culture, the law needs to change to be less complex provide better protection for designers, higher penalties to reinforce deterrence, and a more affordable route to pursue infringements. But on top of much needed design law reform, we desperately need designers to become more aware and active in fighting for their IP rights. The more engagement campaigning groups like ACID can get, the greater we can campaign effectively.

Copyists will always  attempt to take the fast, cheap route to market by copying other people’s designs. But it is up to the system, the rule of law, and society as a whole to decide it is worth championing designers, to help them protect truthful design, innovation, and integrity.

That is why ACID has launched our latest initiative, the ACID IP Charter, to strengthen the design community and create a movement towards respect, compliance, and ethics in design and intellectual property. It gives all designers and those who care about fair play to display our ACID IP Charter logo and for a small, one-off nominal fee, contribute to the fighting fund to say NO to IP theft. You can sign here to show your support.

If you have been copied, as a designer, our latest ACID Magazine, issue 74, has an article with helpful tips on what to do next, which can be viewed here.

If you need any IP help or support, please feel welcome to call our friendly team on 0845 6443617 or email [email protected]. You can read more on how to protect your IP rights, or become a member of ACID here.

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