Dear Prime Minister
Very many congratulations on your resounding majority in the recent election. As you may be aware 96% of the Creative Industries wanted to remain in the European Union, however, like many in the UK’s magnificent design sector, we look to the future with confidence under your leadership.
However, I would like to bring to your urgent personal attention to a potentially calamitous situation if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on the protection of UK unregistered design rights in EU27. Currently there is protection for three years and, as the majority of designers rely on unregistered rights, urgent attention is required
Despite representations and evidence submitted to your Government over the last 3.5 years, the current advice is to seek individual legal guidance. This is not good enough as IP lawyers are unable to give advice, or offer certainty, because this requires negotiation at Government level. The UK design sector deserves positive action and guidance.
The UK design sector contributes a staggering £85.6 billion to the UK’s GDPR and design skills provide jobs for 1.5 million people in this country, the majority of whom are lone, micro and SME.
By demonstrating the importance of the continued protection of intellectual property which underpins our design sector, we can help grow the economy, in businesses and industry across the country, however, this will only happen if there is continued strong protection of IP in EU27. It is vital that this issue is a priority in discussions about trade agreements.
In 2014, following a campaign spearheaded by Anti Copying in Design, the intentional infringement of a registered design was made a crime, enshrined in the IP Act. This deterrent has had a significant effect on registered design infringement. May I also urgently bring to your attention the necessity to ensure that unregistered design infringement also has criminal provisions in a post-Brexit period.
Lastly, I would respectfully ask that you appoint a dedicated Intellectual Property Minister who does not share his or her portfolio with another department. The intellectual property that the UK creates is vital to our economic future and it is time that this is given the priority it deserves.
I would be delighted to brief you personally on the importance of design and intellectual property in the UK and in the meantime, send you all good wishes for 2020 and a new dawn of positive anticipation for a bright future.
Dids Macdonald OBE
CEO ACID Ltd