A - Summer NL TanyaCPACID is delighted to announce that the 2008 British Inventor of the Year Award winner, Tanya Ewing. Tanya will be joining ACID’s other Ambassadors Sebastian Conran, Kevin McCloud, John Noble Director of the British Brands Group and Frederick Mostert of My Authentics, all of whom are champions in their pursuit of respect for intellectual property within the creative industries.  On being made an ACID Ambassador, Tanya Ewing said, “ I am honoured to be asked to be associated with this unique and creative organisation that I have got to know so well through my membership over the last three years.”

Tanya is the inventor of Ewgeco an energy-monitoring device that uses a ‘traffic-light’ display to show real-time use of electricity, water and gas took home the top prize as the 2008 Inventor of the Year at the tenth annual British Female Inventor and Innovator of the Year Awards in Cardiff held last year. Top of her priorities was to apply for an international patent and design registrations for her idea. She has no formal engineering or product design training, having left school at 17 to take up a vocational career as a dental hygienist. As a dyslexic herself, she was very keen to develop an easy-to-read ‘traffic-light’ display for her energy-monitoring device.

It was Tanya’s frustration at trying to extract useful information from her utility bills, coupled with her concern for improving energy efficiency, that gave her the idea of designing a single device to display how much energy and water a building is using at any moment.

Says Tanya, “I started sketching what I thought a meter inside a home should look like and that ultimately led to Ewgeco. The business now employs seven people in Scotland and was valued at £3.4m in September 2008. We are currently going through our third round of fund-raising, and are aiming to get the maximum value from our IP. In our first two rounds we raised £920,000 from business angels, and our intellectual property was vital. Everybody always wanted to know who owned the IP (the company) and how well protected it was. Right from the onset out intellectual property was very well protected. For example, we have used many consultants and all of them signed assignation agreements, so anything they worked on (product design, feasibility, electronics etc) was owned by the company. We have applied for a patent and protected the look of the meter through design rights, and the Ewgeco name through a trademark”.

Tanya’s search for IP advice started with the Intellectual Property Office website. She received a lot of help via the Innovators Counselling and Advisory Service for Scotland, which offers free advice to help people protect and commercially exploit their ideas. As a member of ACID she also received useful practical help and advice and even before becoming an ACID Ambassador advised many other inventors and designers to contact the ACID hotlines”.

Tanya Ewing’s advice to other would-be inventors is, “Get your IP house in order right from the beginning. I was lucky, in Scotland there is the Intellectual Asset Centre, a unique centre to assist in deriving value from their Intellectual Assets. Supported by the Scottish Government, the Centre was developed in response to the demand from businesses to learn more about their Intellectual Assets. Initial studies showed that, despite the number of businesses asking for advice, there were still many more that were not aware. Moreover, the value of unexploited Intellectual Assets lying in Scottish companies were judged to be several billion pounds! The IA has helped me enormously in underpinning the credentials of the company and enabled me to create a sound business case to attract more funding for growth”.

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.



In a global economy it is necessary to take a holistic approach to IP rights and it is worthwhile appointing legal advisors who have multi-jurisdictional experience from an international viewpoint together with grass roots local knowledge. Their job will be to keenly examine and evaluate the territories in which you trade to investigate the opportunities such as using volume registrations to maximise protection. They should also look at different territories in terms of access to the legal system, strength of IP rights, ease of registration and protection and pay particular attention to the commercial culture in which innovative companies can flourish. Take a look at the table below which is based on an innovative analysis of surveys to provide an assessment of the best and worst jurisdictions to obtain, exploit, enforce and attack particular types of IP infringement. Clearly this indicates caution in the BRIC countries and, surprisingly, puts the UK at the top of IP listings as a safe IP haven. 
















New Zealand












South Africa


South Korea



















Table produced by Taylor Wessing

L’Oreal SA & Ors v Bellure NV & Ors

A decision of the European Court of Justice following a reference from the Court of Appeal in L’Oreal SA & Ors v Bellure NV & Ors, may have implications for businesses marketing products as “look a likes” of famous brands. The decision effectively introduces a law of unfair competition which will prevent businesses “riding on the back” of famous brands to promote cheap imitations. However, it is likely to be restricted to well known brands, which have a reputation, protected by registered trade marks.

L’Oreal owns registered trade marks for the names and packaging of its Trésor, Miracle, Anaïs-Anaïs and Noa Noa perfumes (”the Marks”). The Defendants marketed perfumes claiming they were similar in smell to L’Oreal’s. The Defendants sold those products in bottles and packaging which were similar, but not identical, to the Marks. However, the degree of similarity would not mislead or confuse the public or affect the essential function of the Marks which was to guarantee the origin of L’Oreal’s goods.

Andrew Lee of ACID Accredited law firm McDaniel & Co. comments, “The Defendants admitted that their products were intended to give “a wink of an eye” to L’Oreal’s products. L’Oreal alleged the imitation of the names and packaging of its perfumes by the Defendants’ and the sale of those products in the imitative packaging took unfair advantage of, or was detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of the Marks and was trade mark infringement.”

The ECJ held that the taking of an unfair advantage of the distinctive character or repute of a trade mark did not require a likelihood of confusion or a likelihood of detriment to the distinctive character or repute of the trade mark, or harm to the owner. It was sufficient that the advantage arising from the use, by a third party, of signs similar to the trade mark was an advantage unfairly taken of the distinctive character or repute of the trade mark, where that use sought to “ride on the coat-tails” of the trade mark in order to benefit from the power of attraction, the reputation and the prestige of the trade mark and to exploit, without paying financial compensation, the marketing effort expended in maintaining the trade mark’s image by the owner.

We are all familiar with the “look a like” brands in supermarkets. Quite often you establish a link between the “look a like” and the famous brand but realise they are different products. Now, it seems those imitations may pay the price.

Andrew Lee of ACID Accredited Law Firm McDaniel & Co.

Andy 2

Facebook is a social networking phenomenon.  It has 200 million users worldwide and increasingly is being used by businesses for commercial purposes.  So, what is the issue?


Since 13 June, Facebook users have been able to sign up for individual URLs incorporating their own chosen username.  This means that each user will have a unique Internet address for their Facebook profile page comprising www.facebook.com/[insert your chosen username].  Any username at all can be chosen.  The only restriction is if someone has already chosen that username before you.  This is a worrying development for trade mark owners as it is highly likely that some users will choose registered trade marks as their username, for example www.facebook.com/adidas. 


The Username Feature

Facebook is rolling this out in two phases.  In phase one, from 13 June users whose Facebook account was active before 31 May 2009 will be able to select their chosen username.  In phase two, from 28 June 2009 all other users will be able to select a username. Usernames will be allocated on a “first come first served basis”. 

Is Facebook offering any protections for trade mark owners?

Yes, provided you are looking to protect registered trade marks.  Facebook does not offer any specific protection for unregistered trade marks.

Registered trade mark owners may:

  • ‘reserve’ URLs incorporating their trade marks by completing a form provided by Facebook online; and/or
  • complain that someone has a URL incorporating their trade mark and ask for it to be removed by completing Facebook’s online IP infringement form.  

 What should trade mark owners do?

1.If you have a registered trade mark and a Facebook account which was live before 31 May 2009, you should immediately:

  • complete the online reservation form; and
  • request a username which is in line with your business name and/or trade mark.  If you discover that another user has got there before you, then fill in the IP infringement form

2.If you have a registered trade mark but not yet a Facebook account, you should immediately:

  • Complete the online reservation form;
  • Sign up for a Facebook account;
  • On 28 June, request a username which is in line with your business name and/or trade mark.  If you discover that someone has got there before you then fill in the IP infringement form

Patricia Jones PhD, partner at Hammonds LLP comments;

“Although there is nothing particularly new about personalised URLs on social networking sites, the enormous reach of Facebook makes its introduction of them a potential cause for concern for brand owners.  Facebook have put in place a number of protections for brand owners in addition to those mentioned in this article, for example a restriction on the transfer of usernames and a requirement that usernames comply with Facebook’s ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’ which prohibits actions by users that may infringe another’s rights.  Facebook also reserves the right to remove any username at any time and for any reason.  It remains to be seen whether these will adequately protect brand owners, in particular those with unregistered trade marks.  In the meantime, by following the guidance in this article, brand owners will have the best prospect of maintaining their IP rights and may even be able to take advantage of the business perks of Facebook by enjoying contact with millions of users”.

A - Robert Welch cutlery

ACID members Robert Welch win prestigious Red Dot Award and, according to Housewares Live Magazine, in total 3,231 products from 49 nations faced the expert judgement this year. The award-winning products are exhibited to an international public in the Red Dot design museum in Essen, Germany. Commenting on the award, Rupert Welch, managing director of Robert Welch Designs, said: “We set out to design and engineer the best knife in the world and worked with professional chefs on the development of the Signature range.


The international jury of design experts in the Red Dot scheme examines and tests the products and assesses them according to criteria such as degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics, longevity, ecological compatibility and clarity of function. The Signature knife block and knives were designed in-house by Paul deBretton Gordon and Rupert Welch. They have been found to be in the world’s top 3% of all knives tested for initial sharpness and edge retention.

SueS-H-Peter JonesGrandmother of four and ACID Member Sue Scott-Horne decided to start educational resources company Egar after a broken ankle ended her 25-year career – with a little encouragement from Dragons’ Den Peter Jones.

Where did you get the idea? 
I was recuperating from a fall for three years when I decided to start the company. We make non-judgemental and self-empowering cards to help teenagers talk through various social issues. But it was Peter Jones who really inspired me to carry on.

Above Peter Jones with Sue Scott-Horne

How has Peter Jones helped?  I presented the idea to him at an event. In order to grasp it he role played being a teenager and was actually a very good actor. Afterwards, he said he liked it a lot. I met him again recently and he said he’d be able to help. Hopefully he can introduce me to people and get the company noticed.

How did you fund it? 
I used £30,000 of my own savings to fund the business. When that ran out, I also got grants through Camden and Islington Councils. But I’m still looking for more.

What marketing have you used? 
We have been profiled by organisations such as the Business & IP Centre the British Library. We’ve also managed to sell a lot through road shows. Our customers are schools, life skills coaches, youth workers and colleges. Although, we still haven’t marketed enough yet to let everybody know we are out here.

Where next? 
In five years time I want to be the market leader in educational resources. There are social problems like knife crime that our products could really help young people to address. Particularly as they cover all age ranges from year six to sixteen plus.

Original Article featured on  www.smallbusiness.co.uk

Only this week Ruth Orchard, Director General of the ACG (Anti Counterfeiting Group) reports a case which resulted in a prison sentence for those involved in a counterfeit case of Ted Baker fashions amongst other. The case was passed to Leicester TS, enabling them to seize around £60K-worth of product, including fake Lacoste, Bench, Fred Perry and Timberland products as well as fake Ted Baker items.  See links below for news of this great result, with a prison sentence of 2 years 9 months for the counterfeiter:



This is a great coup for the ACG and for the trade mark owners and further demonstrates the disparity between trade mark owners and design right owners in that criminal sanctions were quite rightly awarded. Hopefully a prison sentence will deter others from this path. Whilst worst case crimes like these merit criminal sanctions, design right infingement still only merits civil action and cases cannot be referred to Trading Standards.