Advice for Design Protection

If you are a fashion designer and have created a collection which you believe has potential monetary value, vigilance and security is key. CCTV set up wherever you are housing your new collection would help. Don’t give your premises address out unless you have to, maybe use a PO Box address on any publicity. There are those out there who do not want to go through the expense of the creative process and seek the fast track to market, either through physical theft or stealing the design ideas by copying and free riding on the back of your designs. Similar problems are experienced by inventors and product designers.

  • Sign and date all design drawings (from the seed of an idea through to the finished product, including all inspirational ideas). It is also useful to photograph certain stages of designing (again, sign and date the photographs) to demonstrate the evolution of design through its creative process. KEEP THEM IN A SAFE PLACE. This provides compelling evidence, or a “design audit trail”. Under unregistered UK or EU design law it is necessary to provide dated evidence of design ownership if infringement occurs
  • Send copies of your designs to an independent third party. At ACID we hold thousands of copies of designs which are sent to us as soon as they are created. This provides not only dated evidence, but also safekeeping for your detailed drawings so that designs could be re-created if necessary
  • If you have created a series of designs that you feel are going to be really important to your business, register them at the UKIPO (United Kingdom Intellectual Property office) or obtain a Registered Community Design (RCD) OHIM (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market). This provides a monopoly right and you don’t have to prove copying. You will have a piece of paper, a certificate, which says you “own” the design and you can therefore take legal action quickly and cost effectively
  • Whenever you are displaying your designs at an end of year design college show, catwalk, exhibition or sending information to potential retail buyers, communicate your anti copying policy and also mark this on your website and all promotional marketing material! “All intellectual property rights in our designs are and will remain the property of (insert your name). Any infringement will be taken seriously”. Basically if you don’t want people to copy you, say so!
  • Never send design drawings or samples without a confidentiality agreement or intellectual property agreement being signed. Never leave any sampling with potential retail buyers or manufacturers without an assurance that your IP rights are acknowledged and respected
  • Have a strict NO PHOTOGRAPHY POLICY. Unauthorised photography of your new designs is the fastest and easiest way for other’s to steal your ideas
  • As a creative – become “IP” intellectual property “savvy” – after all it’s your future!


The information provided in the above guidelines does not provide a complete statement of the present law and you should always take specialist advice in respect of your particular circumstances.

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