The Big Question

How do you protect an original design concept?

Steven Liquorish
CMS/aircharge

Every design we produce is captured and logged with ACID, no matter whether the concept is taken forward into the development or not – this helps with enforcing unregistered design rights. If the design moves forward into development, the next step is to register the design with the appropriate bodies for the territories we intend to place the product. These steps, along with monitoring the market for any infringing products, ensure that we can take action if and when necessary.

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David Fox
David Fox Design

Protecting your design in the EU is very affordable at less than £200, depending on the application – the same application to cover you for China would be at least five times that. It gives you a clear document and reference to when the design was registered. So if the IP is infringed, you have something solid to begin a case, should you decide to proceed.

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Craig Jones
Jones & Partners

Many things – where do I start! For small independent agencies like ourselves it is being able to justify the associated external costs to protect each innovation. We use a phrase ‘Delayed prevention rather than cure’. Having signed NDA’s, design contracts or external legal practices’ support can sometimes be enough to secure confidentiality and design integrity. It very much depends on who you are trying to protect against. Worthy of a wider debate!

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Elliot Brook
Deadgood

The commercial value held within any company’s IP is clearly its biggest asset. Illegal copying costs the sector a huge amount and is detrimental to the perceived value of that design in the eyes of the consumer or end user. As a result, I personally think there should be more support mechanisms in place from the government to pursue those that infringe design rights – a dedicated service to help pursue claims, maybe? Of course this would cost the taxpayer but I do believe that intervention by the government would ultimately lead to a more profitable, productive and buoyant industry.

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Paul Crofts
Paul Crofts Studio

I launched a lighting product called ‘Nonla’ under my own Studio a couple of years ago. It’s all made in the UK, which is a challenge in itself when hitting any sensible price point. Now if I Google my own product, images come up from a company in China who sell a rip-off of the light, under my name, without any apologies. They even use my own project images as reference! Surely this can’t be right. Designers must be able to have protection to keep us inspired to keep producing original designs in the UK.

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Mino Vernaschi
Orangebox

Design registration: the laws need to be changed and be more stringent so there is more visual protection – it is currently too loose. People can go back to prior art and then, if it exists in a certain way, can make an adaptation that is not deemed to be plagiarism. And the biggest culprits in our industry are…