If you work in design, you might be a bit more concerned about Brexit than other people. Anti-Copying in Design, the trade body set up to protect the intellectual property of designers, has raised concerns that vital business law stopping people copying original designs will be scrapped.
Did McDonald, the founder of the organization has cautioned the government that if they don’t either keep the existing legislation or have new laws ready to seamlessly take the place of EU protections the design industry, which currently contributes 71.7 million pounds to the UK economy, could be at serious risk of losing ownership of the ideas and designs that make it so successful.
“EU design laws protect the individual character of designs in terms of shape, texture, colours, ornamentation and materials, while UK rights only protect shape.” Did explains. Losing these protections would put British designers at a severe disadvantage to their European counterparts, at a time when we need them to be at their best and help boost our economy in the wake of leaving the European Union.
Anti-Copying in Design offers free initial legal advice to their members to help them navigate the complexities of protecting their intellectual property. Once a designer has signed up, they can also put a ACID logo on their website which helps to deter potential copyright thieves. The lawyers who work with ACID explain that seeing the logo makes a potential copyright infringer realise the designer is aware of the law surrounding copyright theft, and has the support necessary to defend their rights.
While some underestimate the risk of copyright infringement to small designers, ACID has documented and helped to fight many cases where a small business has met with a supermarket or other big supplier, only to later find copies of their products for sale in stores. When your main income is your unique ideas and designs, you stand to lose everything if people can reproduce them without any fees or punishments. At a time when the UK needs to reinforce it’ internal economy, this is a bigger issue than any individual designer being inconvenienced.
McDonald has visited Downing Street to explain that if designers don’t receive more legal protection, 25% of sales could be lost across the UK. This is an issue that affects us all: that could be a non-trival portion of our post Brexit economy.