Sebastian Conran urges Minister and MPs to ‘lead the world in having robust IP legislation’

A - Minister Paul, Dids and Sebastian

ACID Ambassador and Product designer Sebastian Conran threw down the gauntlet to his host David Lammy, the Minister for Intellectual Property, recently when he addressed a meeting at the House of Commons about the importance of intellectual property. “There needs to be a fundamental change in attitudes that supporting IP theft is as much a crime as other acquisitive theft such as burglary.” he told a group of MPs and representatives of rights owners and IP professionals.  “If this is seen as an opportunity and this country were perceived to lead the world in having robust IP legislation, then the UK might be seen as a particularly benign and attractive environment to nurture creativity of all types.”

Above Left to Right: David Lammy, Paul Leonard, Dids Macdonald and Sebastian Conran

David Lammy MP agreed that IP was now “an incredibly contested political space” and no longer seen as a principally legal issue.  “In the past, members of the public were not exposed to the ‘wiring’ of IP.  That is now changing,” he said.  “IP is presenting politicians with great challenges in public policy.  Look at what has happened in Sweden, where politicians have been elected on an IP piracy ticket.  Not all politicians in the UK appreciate the importance of IP and IPAN’s work in improving public –and political – awareness and understanding of IP is more important than ever before.”

Dr Paul Leonard, Chairman of the IP Awareness Network, which organised the event, agreed that there are still many misunderstandings about how the IP system works.  He quoted a recent national newspaper article that referred to a major corporation’s ‘secret patents’ – a basic error, as patenting involves full publication of the technology involved.  He went on to tell the group that the UK is now the ‘most IP-rich society in the world’ and announced that IPAN now had some 50 member organisations, making it the most comprehensive and impartial source of information about all aspects of intellectual property.

Dids Macdonald ACID’s CEO said, “Sebastian Conran speaks for the whole of the design industry when he describes IP theft as a real crime, let us hope that Government will start to take notice of the real threat that this poses to the creative industries”.

The parliamentary briefing was part of a campaign being waged by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network, whose members include brand owners, anti-counterfeiting organisations and membership associations for intellectual property professionals. 

Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN)

The IPAN Network was formed in 1993 aiming to bring together the separate IP awareness, activities and concerns of a wide range of professional, educational and business organisations. There are currently about fifty member organisations, of which ACID (Anti Copying in Design) is one, who demonstrate the breadth of experience from many quarters dealing with a wide variety of IP issues.

IPAN is not a lobbying organisation but seeks to provide balanced, evidence-based statements to improve general understanding of important IP issues.  These statements are not binding on individual members of the Network. In a world where lobbying plays such a key role in influencing decision-making around IP issues, IPAN does not provide opinion nor express views on the lobbying merits of any individual organisation within its membership but can provide an unbiased response and resource on IP intelligence, issues, education and information sharing. The IPAN network is diverse, experienced and informed.


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