Ligne Roset PresentationGrand Designs Logo

Ligne Roset

At the fabulous and glitzy Grand Designs Awards held on 8th June, Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO presented the ACID sponsored Grand Designs Best Furniture Award to Bruno Allard of Ligne Roset. This was made possible by the generosity of ACID’s Accredited Law Firm, DMH Stallard, who co-funded the ACID sponsorship. Macdonald, following the presentation said, “Ligne Roset’s fantastic winning “Facett” seating range demonstrates a highly effective geometric approach to their continued contemporary furniture trail blazing” She continued, “Having the support of Sarah Birkbeck and the team at Stallards to sponsor this award has meant that ACID gained a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness about the work we do to protect the best in innovative, new furniture designs. What better example than in Ligne Roset’s winning “Facett” range”.

Black & Blum Loop

ACID member Dan Black of Black and Blum was awarded “best homeware accessory” for their Loop design and collected the prestigious trophy from TV personality and ACID ambassador Kevin McCloud. Many congratulations to Dan and the B & B team! Congratulations too, to ACID members LSA International, who were also finalists in the homeware accesories section with their Ice Collection and also to

Gloster Furniture and Quercus who were finalists in the “best outdoor product” category with their Eclipse and Quercus Fencing designs respectively.

LSA International Ice CollectionGloster Eclipse


Do you ever send sampling or leave prototype designs with clients or buying departments? If so, you might consider sealing the package with the ACID licence tape. The tape is embossed with a clear statement warning the recipient not to open the package unless they agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the Licence Agreement which is enclosed in a plastic wallet attached to the outside. ACID members can purchase a one-off, reusable Licence Agreement which should be used in conjunction with the ACID Licence Tape. Acceptance of the Agreement is confirmed by breaking the seal and opening the package (just like computer software packages, for example).

* In this way, a binding agreement is entered into without the need to obtain the client’s signature on the actual document.

* A copy of the dispatch note is sent to ACID as proof of dispatch and held on files acting as evidence if anyone is foolish enough to ignore this warning.

So, not only does the ACID Licence Tape have a practical function it also helps to raise awareness about your IP rights and binds the recipient of any prototype or sampling owned by you into the terms and conditions of the Licence Agreement. Simple, low cost and effective!

For further details visit the ACID Trading area

Romo Simonii Design

Hot foot from taking enforcement action against Linda Barker on a copyright issue with their Simonii cushion design, ACID (Anti Copying in Design) members Romo Limited, designers of original and exclusive soft furnishings had to tackle a further apparent infringement when they discovered that a fabric called “Merge Flower” (virtually identical to their Simonii design) was being sold though the Hong Kong based company Margaret Muir Limited’s trade catalogue and website. As a result of a letter before action sent by ACID’s Accredited Law firm, Hammonds, both Margaret Muir Limited and Nine Schools (a UK distributor of “Merge Flower” products) gave undertakings to cease sale of any Merge Flower bedding and confirmed that all the stock had been destroyed. Nine Schools also specifically (and reasonably) stated that they would refuse any orders placed as a result of advertisements already placed in the design press.Vic Fairbanks of Romo said, “Following the Linda Barker matter and now this, our message to the market is clear. We have invested heavily in the research, design and development of our product range and will take immediate legal action whenever and wherever we discover look-alikes”.

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO added, “This case highlights the vulnerability of various design publications accepting advertisements without a warranty that advertisers confirm the intellectual probity of the products they are advertising. ACID would like to work positively with publishers to help them put in place measures which could help protect them from unknowingly advertising look-alikes for sale”. Furthermore, she added, “This might be an excellent opportunity to approach consumer magazines to become ACID media supporters raising anti copying issues not only to advertisers but also to consumers who may be unaware that they could be buying look-alikes”.

Visit the ROMO website

Infringing Website

Melia's GinoThe power of a cease and desist letter has been demonstrated yet again for ACID member Melia Design.

Melia Design are creators and manufacturers of a range of high quality modern furniture. It therefore came as a great shock when another company JJ Whitehead began offering for sale a coffee table for sale on their website using a photograph (which had been taken from the Melia website) of one of Melia Designs hand crafted coffee tables. This constituted an act of copyright infringement by the unauthorised use of the Photograph and the offering for sale of a coffee table to the design shown in the Photograph.

Lucy Tatum of Melia Design immediately contacted ACID affiliate lawyers McDaniel & Co, who fired off a cease and desist letter to JJ Whitehead. Five days later JJ Whitehead wrote to McDaniel & Co admitting infringement and informed them that the images had immediately been removed from the website.

Field of LightACID (Anti Copying in Design) member, sculptor and artist Bruce Munro, is the creator of the ‘Field of Light’ sculpture. The life size sculpture has previously been on high profile display at Long Knoll House, Kilmington in Wiltshire, in the window of Harvey Nicholls in Oxford Street and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Without asking permission, a photographer had been commissioned by a record company, Snapper Music to provide a graphic for use on the cover of an unofficial Pink Floyd DVD.

Pink Floyd Management revealed that the album was in fact not an official Pink Floyd Publication. Despite initial reluctance to act, the CD producers acknowledged that the photograph had been taken and included without the consent of Bruce Munro and therefore infringed his copyright. Trying to justify his actions, the photographer, when questioned, stated that a family member had said it would be OK, so, “I thought it was fine” but nevertheless acknowledged that he had never actually spoken to Bruce Munro prior to taking the photograph.

Bruce Munro decided not to pursue this in Court and struck a pro-bono deal with Niall Head Rapson of ACID Accredited law firm, McDaniel & Co who successfully negotiated an initial donation of £1,000 and subsequent yearly fee of £750 towards the Ty Hafan Hospice, as well as an official acknowledgement of Licence to Bruce Munro on the back cover of the DVD. Bruce Munro, commenting on the payment and admission, said, “Being a member of ACID has proved thoroughly worthwhile. I am extremely grateful to Niall for providing a creative solution to a legal problem and delighted that Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice received the just remuneration derived from the Field of Light sculpture.”

california-bianco-web.jpgMontpellier’s California Design

Fireplace industry leaders Montpellier, designers of hand carved fire surrounds have settled an action against Marble 4 Life in a look-alike issue. ACID (Anti Copying in Design) members Montpellier claimed that Marble 4 Life’s Column and Frame fire surrounds infringed their intellectual property rights in their Tamara and California fireplaces which were designed by co-owner Michael Fateh. Mr Naeem Hussain, also known as Mr Naeem Mahboob, under the terms of settlement, agreed that Marble 4 Life Limited would immediately cease infringing the intellectual property rights of Montpellier in the Tamara and California fireplaces, deliver up all Column and Frame fireplaces together with all advertising promotional and marketing material, and provide a witness statement confirming that they had complied with the terms as referred to above. Dids Macdonald, ACID’s Chief Executive said, “It is unfortunate that Marble 4 Life and its director did not adhere to the terms of the ACID mediation as agreed with Montpellier, giving Montpellier no option to protect its intellectual property rights, but to issue proceedings. Marble4Life’s membership of ACID has not been renewed”.


Montpellier’s Tamara Design

Tara Parkes, an IP solicitor at law firm Rickerby’s of Cheltenham added, “The good news was that costs were saved by negotiating settlement prior to trial, with Montpellier obtaining the result not dissimilar to that which it could have achieved if successful at trial”. Way back in 2001 the award winning Tamara and California designs were launched at Hearth & Home exhibition and it was not until June 2004 it came to the company’s attention that Marble 4 Life Limited were offering for sale a so-called Column and Frame fireplace, being a reproduction of the Tamara and California respectively. Advertisements for the Column and Frame fireplaces appeared in the Fireplace Specialist magazine, and these fireplaces were again exhibited in the vicinity of the Hearth & Home Show held from 12-14 June 2005. Both parties were members of ACID so, initially, in accordance with the ACID Code of Conduct, Montpellier sought to resolve their dispute using ACID’s alternative dispute resolution solution, and took part in a mediation with Marble 4 Life. The terms of settlement were agreed at the mediation, which Marble 4 Life subsequently failed to adhere to. As a result, Montpellier took legal advice and a letter before action was sent to Marble 4 Life and Proceedings were then issued and defended by Marble 4 Life who denied all allegations claimed.Eve Iravani, a co-director of Montpellier said, “Despite two reasonable offers of settlement, one of which was the same terms as the mediation with ACID, Marble 4 Life and its director refused and only offered to discontinue and walk away. With only a week to go before the trial, however, sense must have prevailed and a settlement was reached. We feel that by demonstrating our firm resolve to protect what we have created, we are not only sending a clear message to Marble 4 Life but to all within the industry that we are prepared to fight our corner”.

Visit the Montpellier website


Whether you are an entrepreneur, designer, manufacturer, student or inventor, your intellectual capital or “know how” needs to be protected. The consequences for not protecting and exploiting IPRs will be dire and, sadly, many lose their businesses today because of a lack of understanding about IP rights and what they do and do not protect. So, clearly, the protection of IP rights in order to fully exploit and commercialise IP value must be a key priority for all creators and innovators.

There are many avenues that designers, manufacturers and brand owners can pursue to ensure that they protect their IP. Often it is the low cost and no cost proactive measures which have the most impact like, for example, ensuring standard terms and conditions of sale or supply include an IP statement, having an effective document management system in place, registering designs, copyright, trade marks and patents in the countries where one’s business interests lie, ensuring that there are registrations in key territories where there are identifiable risks from IP theft. ACID has just produced a set of standard terms and conditions of business and these are positioned as an industry standard. Having a precedent, reusable agreement means that you can add various clauses which apply to your own particular business, though it is always advisable to seek legal help on these aspects.

Most successful businesses will be underpinned by intangible assets and intellectual property and in order to identify and maximise these key resources they need to be translated into a monetary value so that they can become a recognisable USP and key driver in attracting investment or in mergers and acquisitions. An IP strategy review will help to focus on these key areas to be addressed. Don’t forget, too, that any registrations are tax deductible!

Sound, healthy legal agreements really do help to underpin commercial relationships. Relying on effective small print can pay dividends should you need to rely on essential terms which will clarify your IP ownership. Care should be taken too at exhibitions – usually the first point of entry for new product. So, before any exhibition, the rule of thumb is to be IP savvy! Ensure you have design registrations and create an audit trail behind your work. Counterfeiters and copyists are canny so always ensure you take a legitimate business card and know the credentials of whom you are dealing with. Also, remember, be very wary about letting anyone photograph your new designs or products – in the age of digital photography, an innovative new product or idea can be half way across the world, copied and on the production line ready for re-distribution before an exhibitor has had time to pack up his or her stand.

Another simple but effective means by which you can deter copyists is to say so! And what better way than a simple IP ownership statement which can be added to marketing literature, to a standard signature on all emails, invoices, price tags, labelling and websites. This can act like a “24 hour IP burglar alarm” and when linked to say, an organisation such as ACID’s website, reinforces your IP strategy.

Laws, especially IP laws differ from territory to territory, so researching IP laws in different territories will give your organisation a competitive edge in IP awareness. By identifying the rights which apply to your organisation underpinned by a basic knowledge of what they are and how strong they are, is a simple first step.

It takes years to build up a reputation in an organisation and the name by which you are known so clearly a brand protection strategy is key. Apart from UK registration, one of the most effective forms of protection is the relatively new Community Trade Mark. So once one has established National, European and key international territories it is worth while considering an ongoing trade mark policy and identifying the countries with whom your national mark will have reciprocal agreements. If you are relying on unregistered rights for your trade mark, you are quite entitled to add ™. A word of warning, though, you must ensure that you have an unchallenged entitlement to use the name you are trading under. However, if you have a registered trade mark you can add ® beside your company name. Using these symbols will communicate to your competitors the value you place in the investment of the company name by which you are known. It also communicates a level of awareness about the intellectual property you own.

Try to ensure that those with whom you work are aware of your IP policy – suppliers, employees, retailers, end users and competition. ACID advises all those who have a declared corporate social responsibility policy on IP to recommend that mediation is their first port of call as a solution to legal disputes.

ACID supports mediation with its “Mediate to Resolve” scheme as a real alternative to litigation.