Award winning ACID Members Robert Welch have reached a confidential settlement regarding a lookalike packaging dispute. The following statement was agreed by both sets of solicitors on behalf of Robert Welch Designs Limited and Marks & Spencer PLC.robertwelsh2.jpg

Cutlery and gifts specialist Robert Welch Designs Ltd and Marks and Spencer plc have reached a confidential settlement to the satisfaction of both parties involving a design dispute. Robert Welch claimed that Marks and Spencer plc had copied packaging designs from Robert Welch’s “Radford” cutlery range on Marks and Spencer’s “Loxley” and “Oxford” cutlery collections. Marks and Spencer deny any copying has taken place and maintain that the packaging was independently designed. No Admission of liability has been made.” Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “Successful, design led cutlery designers, Robert Welch have always and will continue to have a proactive and robust approach to what they consider to be look alike copies on the market. Their last successful copying challenge was against Argos. Robert Welch spend a considerable amount of money developing product packaging and are determined to protect their brand image and not allow others to benefit on the back of their investments. One of the most difficult aspects to prove in any alleged copying is copyright infringement in packaging where the images have been changed sufficiently so that legal challenge is difficult (and costly!). This is a subject about which ACID has lobbied for some time now – a case for unlawful imitation. In these situations often designers have to rely on “passing off”. If a company has to rely on “passing off” it is necessary to provide independent evidence of consumer confusion. What chance does any small, successful, niche, design led company have with major retail brands? This is why it is so difficult to prove and why, as in some cases it would appear companies have to settle out of court and agree a joint statement. When one looks at the time involved (over two years!) in the above case, it begs the question – why didn’t both sets of lawyers suggest mediation as an alternative to litigation?”

Dids Macdonald will be writing to Robert Ivens, Head of M & S legal department who is a known supporter of mediation to seek M & S’s positive commitment that if there are incidences involving ACID members in the future, M & S will consider mediation. At least this would give both sides the opportunity to minimise legal costs and reduce the time involved by seeking an alternative dispute resolution.


ACID Accredited Exhibition, Interiors Birmingham, will take place at the NEC from 18-21 January 2009, a key time for buyers to source for the season ahead and to discover the latest trends and influences in the market. The event incorporates halls housing Furniture, Furnishing Accessories, Soft, Lighting and the design-led halls, Collection, Outdoor Collection and Lighting Collection.  Interiors Birmingham, organised by CMP, offers an unrivalled collection of traditional and contemporary interior products. The gateway to the UK’s largest gathering of industry buyers and decision makers attracting both the retail and contract market, Interiors Birmingham offers a complete experience across the whole spectrum of interior products. From volume to high-end, the halls provide the ultimate platform for exhibitors to promote their products and for buyers to be exposed to the entire interiors market. With over 1200 exhibitors and approximately 40,000 visitors, Interiors Birmingham is the UK’s largest interiors event. Packed with new and innovative products, the event also offers informative seminars and inspirational trend forecasts, resulting in a must attend event.

New Designers

New Designers 2008 Part 1: 3 – 6 July 2008 (Awards Preview 2 July)Contemporary Applied Arts, Ceramics & Glass, Textiles, Fashion & Accessories, Jewellery & Precious Metalwork   Part 2: 10 – 13 July 2008 (Awards Preview 9 July)

Product Design, Furniture Design, Illustration & Animation, Graphic Design & Interactive MediaPhotography, Spatial Design (Architecture, Interior Design, Theatre Design & Model Making)   New Designers is the foremost event in graduate design showcasing the work, energy and talent of some 4,000 young designers every July in the Business Design Centre, London. Discover bright new talent from architecture to animation, furniture to fashion, graphics to glass. Whether you are a professional working within creative industries or someone with a personal interest in design, New Designers will present the influences, future directions and trend-setting ideas from the next generation of design leaders. DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER – SAVE 25% Book now 08448 480145 Book online www.newdesigners.comPlease quote ND87  New Designers takes place at the Business Design Centre, London, N1 OQH.  Nearest tube Angel.  For information on opening times and travelling to the venue please visit our website