Baroness Morgan of Drefelin has become the new Minister of Intellectual Property to replace Lord Triesman who has stepped down to become Chairman of the FA. Delyth Morgan is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Government Spokesperson, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

ACID welcomes Baroness Morgan to her new role and hopes that she will build upon and consolidate Lord Triesman’s excellent start in tackling the UK’s IP issues and ‘absolute willingness to work with all stakeholders’

ACID looks forward to welcoming Baroness Morgan as the keynote speaker in our 10th Anniversary celebrations on April 9th.

Image of Porta Romana Original

Porta Romana Original

Image of BHS Lamp

BHS Lamp

Despite BHS denying infringement of ACID members Porta Romana’s lamp bases, the high street retailer and Porta Romana have negotiated a settlement. BHS have been allowed to sell off their remaining stock and have undertaken to withdraw the product and give a commitment not to have further look alike lamp bases produced.ACID (Anti Copying in Design) member, Porta Romana are leaders in the field as glassware table lamp designers, supplying to the very top end of interior design worldwide. Naturally, they were shocked to discover remarkably similar looking lamp bases to their award winning distinctive bronze and nickel designs in BHS stores in June 2007. Porta Romana immediately called the ACID specialist IP helpline and spoke to Niall Head Rapson of ACID Accredited law firm McDaniel & Co who confirmed that he believed there was an alleged infringement of their design right. Niall wrote to BHS who removed the look alike products and, after a period of negotiation settled the dispute.

Andrew Hills of Porta Romana said following the settlement, “We invest so much into the design of our products which all have distinctive character and we will not hesitate to take similar action in the future if we feel that our design equity is being eroded.”

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “Fortunately companies like Porta Romana always keep a compelling design audit trail to be able to substantiate their design ownership. All of their new designs are logged in the ACID Design Data Bank, a free service to members”.

DMH Stallard Team

DMH Stallard Team

Increased industry awareness about intellectual property and trade visitors eagerness to find out more about design protection and brand expansion were the main themes for discussion at the ACID stand during Interiors 2008 at the NEC last month. During the one-to-one IP clinics a whole raft of IP subjects were covered with several exhibitors contacting ACID’s on the spot Mediate to Resolve service with alleged copying complaints. These were professionally and efficiently handled by the ACID Accredited Lawyers from the DMH Stallard team, led by Sarah Birkbeck and supported by Jo Crouch.

Sarah Birkbeck said, ‘I was particularly impressed by those who seemed to have their IP house in order. One company had a Registered Design portfolio so I was able to confirm the design ownership credentials of one particular product, which the company felt had been copied. By having this evidence available I was immediately able to refer to the Registered Community Design (RCD) certificate and compare this design with the alleged copy on another stand. In this situation, I could confirm, under the recent design law ruling, that the alleged copy did not satisfy the test for infringement. The MD of that particular company was able to have the benefit of free ‘on the spot’ expert IP legal opinion which clarified his position there and then.’

In another alleged copying case, the benefit of being able to access registered community design certificates enabled the DMH Stallard team to advise on several instances where look-alikes had been discovered. Jo Crouch added, ‘There seems to be some confusion about the criteria for design protection and I think is important to note that for a design to be eligible for protection under the EU it must be ‘novel’ and have ‘distinctive character’ and, of course, be original and not copied. In short, rights are bestowed by Governments to reward design originality. Design protection is not available for products that are commonplace, however, one should not confuse ‘commonplace’ with the fact that a product which has design protection may have been copied so much that people assume that is commonplace, take the iconic Bombo stool, for example, whose owners have asserted their IP rights in many successful legal actions.

Those planning to exhibit in the future should ensure that by following some simple guidelines they can gear up their intellectual property protection by taking a few precautionary steps.



Jonathan Lucas – Elstead Lighting           Mark Lissauer – Franklite ‘Senza’

Congratulations to ACID members Franklite and Elstead Lighting for winning two prestigious Lighting Association awards at the recent Interiors Event at the NEC in Birmingham last week. Franklite’s Senza is an excellent example of bringing innovation through technology into the household, winning best product award for their exclusive black/clear lead crystal glass on a fitting of original design. Franklite had a very successful show and the new catalogue (number 20) for 2008 will be available in the next few weeks, with this and many other new and innovative products for domestic and contract applications.

Elstead Lighting’s product, Azure LE6/PIR also one Best Product in its category with judges commenting on the unique technical features, combining an energy saving lamp source to a passive Infra Red sensor producing an outdoor fitting of ultra low energy consumption. Jonathan Lucas said ’ Elstead Lighting is pround to have recieved this award. From the inception to final working model, the driving force behind the product idea was to bring to market a product that as well as good looking had unique and exceptional energy saving properties. The Azure is just one of many models being developed by Elstead using this technology.’

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, ‘Sometimes award winning products can be a target as a fast route to market success by unscrupulous copyists – but a word of warning! In the recent landmark case of Procter & Gamble against Reckitt Benckiser which clarified design law, the Judge ruled that in future, designers who have won accolades in the press or through design awards can use this as evidence of commercial success, demonstrating that their designs are novel and, therefore, enforceable. Winning awards like these are clearly industry accolades but now, thanks to Lord Justice Jacob, winning an award and the subsequent publicity can now be a really positive addition to the IP armoury of design protection.’

Mark Lissauer, Franklite’s managing director, told ACID at the exhibition that he had already been visited on the stand by the lighting buyer of a well known high street retailer, who was unable (or unwilling) to identify himself as a legitimate trade visitor representing the retail chain. He had expressed a particular interest in the award-winning product. All trade visitors at ACID Accredited Exhibitions must be able to identify themselves with a bona fide business card, which states their name, position and the company for whom they work. It is hoped that all responsible retail chains will support UK designers by ordering award winning products, bringing originality and new innovation to the consumer from their rightful design originators. Within retail chain buying, sadly, it would appear to be a fairly common practice to head straight to the Far East to ask manufacturers to produce remarkably similar look-alikes. A word of warning to some retail chain buyers, in future they should take notice of Lord Justice Jacob’s ruling!

NEXUS2 nexus1

Left and right – examples of Paul Stott’s Nexus range

Despite denying any infringement of iconic furniture designer Paul Stott’s designs, Value Mark Furniture based in Scotland have reached a settlement following the issuing of proceedings by Paul Stott and Aster Furniture Limited, The contents of the settlement remain confidential.

ACID (Anti Copying in Design) member Paul Stott designed a range of furniture called Nexus for a client, Aster Furniture. However, Paul discovered that an almost identical range was being sold by a company in Northern Ireland, MCW Distribution Limited. After contacting IP Accredited lawyer Niall Head Rapson of McDaniel & Co, a letter before action was sent to MCW who quickly informed him that the goods were supplied though Value Mark Furniture in Scotland and were ultimately sourced from China from an organisation known as Grand Classic Limited. Following the settlement, designer Paul Stott said, ‘Good design does not happen by accident. Successful product development requires the balancing of many important factors, that is why we protect what we create’.

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, ‘Often we find that infringement emanates from some companies instructing Chinese manufacturers to produce look alikes for which they do not own the intellectual property rights. Increasingly designers are becoming much more IP savvy and determined to fight their corner’.


Paul Stott Design offers a complete design and development service from concept to commercial reality in the manufacturing and retail sectors. They apply their expertise and knowledge of market trends, materials and manufacturing techniques to their product designs, achieving both commercial and award winning design success. Visit the Paul Stott Website

Image of COLIN WATSON & Dids Macdonald

ACID, (Anti Copying in Design) has formed a partnership with the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA) to help raise the profile and value of intellectual property (IP) among BCFA membership.

This move is part of an on-going campaign by ACID to actively support trade organisations pan-industry. Through IP education - how to protect your designs and how to integrate IP as part of a corporate or marketing strategy – ACID will advise BCFA members on creating a safe trading environment by safeguarding their design equity when tendering or pitching for business.

Says Colin Watson, CEO, BCFA, ‘We are committed to raising awareness of UK design and protecting it within the contract furnishing industry. The timing for building a partnership with ACID could not be better as many of our members will be taking advantage of terrific new business opportunities including the Commonwealth Games and, of course, the Olympic Games in 2012. We are delighted to be joining forces with ACID and, as a result, we will be able to offer our members a real chance to develop their own IP strategies’.

Endorsing the new, stronger relationship with the BCFA, Dids Macdonald, CEO of ACID added, ‘The design and interiors industry is supported by influential trade organisations including the BCFA - the first to take advantage of ACID’s Trade Association module. The module is bespoke according to the market sector and includes an introductory one year 20% discount for new members and subsequent group membership discounted fee, seminars, tailored IP advice through regular web and newsletter features, industry standard agreements, and IP clinics plus over 30 ACID membership benefits including initial free IP legal advice and the use of the free ACID design bank. I strongly advise any trade association which is committed to design protection and IP education to talk to ACID’.

IPAN logo

The IP Awareness Network IPAN was formed in 1993 to bring together the separate IP awareness ideas, activities and concerns of a broad range of professional, educational and business organisations. IPAN now has over forty member organisations with the UKIPO having observer status. On joining the group Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, ‘When IPAN approached ACID to join this group I saw it as a great opportunity to raise awareness about design issues within the group to reach a broader audience of key stakeholders within intellectual property in the UK’.

CRAFT CENTRAL logo Craft Central (formerly Clerkenwell Green Association) has announced another opportunity for six exceptional designers to receive bespoke training and a financial award to develop a new product. Craft Central is dedicated to providing a range of support to the craft and design community and Bright Ideas 2008 will enable six exciting new design products to make it to the marketplace. ACID is committed to educating and supporting new and innovative designers and in 2007 were contacted by Craft Central, a registered charity, which offers support to designers. ACID agreed to offer one years free ACID Membership to the Craft Central Award Winners and are delighted to announce the extension of this support for 2008.

For further information visit the Craft Central website

WIPO Building

The European Commission announces a new measure for linking the EU Design registration with WIPO

A recent announcement by the Internal Market Services Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy confirms, new legislation will be in place to make it possible for European businesses to safeguard designs globally with less bureaucracy and reduced costs. This became effective on January 1 2008. At present, since April 2003, designers have been able to make one application to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market to register their designs in 27 members states for 25 years. The new announcement effectively means that businesses can ensure extension of their design protection to a total of 47 countries including the EU countires, through one single application with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation).

At present, a European design registration means that a company can register a new design and receive a numbered certificate, which confirms design ownership. If that company then experiences design right infringement and they are in possession of a European design registration, this gives them a monopoly right and they do not have to prove copying. A European Registered Community Design provides an IP owner with evidence of design ownership and provides compelling evidence to make enforcement easier and the legal route more simple and cost effective.

Dids Macdonald, ACIDs CEO, welcoming this new initiative said, “Clearly, with global copying on the increase, one registration through WIPO will ensure that many more markets are covered and creative businesses can rely on a far wider reach of protection. This, if communicated as part of a proactive design protection strategy, will also ensure that those companies who clarify their rights ownership globally, as well as strengthening their protection, may also attract inward investment and their own bottom line. However, if this to be effective protection, individual country cooperation is key and a standarised and effective exemplary damages system must be created within legislature to ensure that this new global mark is dissuasive and acts as a deterrent to those who perpetuate copying”.

Visit the WIPO website