Navigating through a very complex set of design laws is beyond the reach of most design creators but what is important is having a broad understanding of what laws are in place to help design creators use their intellectual property (IP) to create growth. In other words simple steps are needed to protect the work you create and ensure that prevention and deterrence against copycats is paramount.
For over nearly 25 years ACID has held IP clinics at exhibitions throughout the UK, over 600 dedicated days helping those within the design sector to learn how best to use IP as a positive force. During this time, ACID has intervened in over 5000 negotiated settlements through its Accredited Exhibition Protocol which is an alternative dispute resolution service when copying is discovered at exhibitions and fairs.
Often new designs are vulnerable at the first point of market entry. Amazingly, only a handful of cases have ever reached a final court hearing. Put simply, if one person discovers a copy of their designs at an exhibition and ACID is present, our legal affiliates can intervene and broker, usually, an amicable settlement. Very few want to go down the expensive and time-consuming journey of taking legal action and prevention and deterrence are the cornerstones of ACID’s remit.
To date, ACID’s legal affiliates have achieved thousands of successful settlements on behalf of members.
So, in summary, what are ACID’s top ten to stay ahead of the copycat game:
1. Put belt and braces around your new designs, either register them at the UK Intellectual Property Office or upload them to the ACID IP Databank if you are relying on Unregistered Designs – a design audit trail is critical from idea to the marketplace.
2. Communicate that you value your IP, send a positive message on your website or in your T & C. “I have registered my designs at the IPO, or I have uploaded them onto the ACID IP Databank. All Intellectual Property rights in our designs are and will remain the property of (insert your name). Any infringements will be pursued vigorously.
3. Using the ACID logo – your brand of deterrence – As an ACID member, you can use the strong and powerful logo to deter copyists and prevent infringement. After all, if you don’t want others to copy, say so!
4. Visit some of our ACID Magazines to get the inside track on IP basics and tips for your sector, whether you are a jewellery designer, lighting designer, or fashion designer there’s something there for everyone.
5. Become part of our ACID Community by signing the ACID IP Charter – why shouldn’t everyone sign up to IP ethics, compliance, and respect?
6. Formalise design collaborations with ACID Industry standard agreements. Make sure you can rely on the small print – take a peek at downloadable agreements which can be used as part of your Terms and Conditions of business.
7. Learn and understand the myths about IP! For example, do you think if you change a design by a percentage or a number of designs it becomes a new design? Wrong!
8. Take the ACID test to check your IP know how!
9. ACID Member Focus – share their passion for design, their desires for design law reform and more here. Be inspired by their commitment to IP protection.
10. Become “IP savvy!” Share your stories with us about taking on the Goliaths of this world. Look at our inspiring ACID Ambassador Chris Dunford and her story about her battle with Aldi.
You can read ACID’s Top Ten suggestions to Government here (and please email us your views and suggestions).
You can vote for Dids Macdonald and ACID as a whole in the Enterprise Nation Advisor Awards here.