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ACID: Making a Stand Against Design Theft

Copyright and Brand Protection

We all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but frankly, we’d rather get our approbation some other way (lavish gifts are always welcome)…

Recently, while at one of the world’s leading Food Service trade shows, we were faced with what can only be described as a knock-off Studio William – one of the brands there, displaying their very best pieces, had quite clearly taken one of our award winning designs and tried to claim it as their own. Fortunately, we spotted them and appropriate steps were taken to ensure that they could no longer go on selling sub-standard copies to unsuspecting customers looking for exceptional flatware but unfortunately, this was not the first time this happened and it is unlikely to be the last.

Making a Stand Against Design Theft

Being inspired by something or someone is one thing, but lifting a design is simply not on. Luckily, Studio William is a member of ACID (Anti Copying In Design), a not-for-profit organisation funded only by membership fees, who fight the David and Goliath battle on behalf of thousands of design companies wanting to make a stand against design theft.

Without this forward-thinking institution, many companies just like ours would be left clueless about where to start upon finding out that a design has been copied and in many cases, powerless to do anything.

With ACID’s proactive IP strategy and campaigning, whereby in 2014 after 20 years of hard work they finally managed to make the intentional infringement of a Registered Design a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, UK designers both big and small are given the opportunity to really protect those designs they have poured their heart and soul into and do something about it if another company goes against IP law.

"There have been 1000’s of settlements, over 4000+ mediations and through the awareness of ACID and many others, design is no longer an unsung hero in the UK economy. On British IP Day 2016 ACID was recognized as the UK’s first IP Champion."

What The Future Holds for Design Protection

ACID has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings back in the 1980s when Dids Macdonald, then a successful product designer, teamed up with the IP lawyer who helped save her own designs from being stolen to launch what it is today.

Promoting design originality and taking action against those who try to steal it, ACID has created a safer trading environment for it’s members and has raised awareness worldwide on respect of design, compliance and ethics.

Moving forward, ACID’s mission is to eradicate design theft and keep campaigning for criminal provisions for unregistered rights, IP respect within CSR and the introduction of exemplary damages that really hurt. Post Brexit, ACID hopes to ensure that UK designers will not be left at a disadvantage.

All-in-all ACID will continue to defend designers, just like Studio William and help to keep what’s ours ours and what’s yours, the real deal.

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