SPRINGFAIRLOGOKey Spring Fair exhibitors who are also ACID members have accepted an invitation from ACID to join a new steering group. The ACID Spring & Autumn Fair Intellectual Property Steering Group’s objectives will be to build on existing progress and cooperation with the organiser Emap and also to develop new initiatives to address concerns on the increase of copying within this sector.

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “Having worked positively with Spring & Autumn Fair for the past decade, I am delighted that, together with the IP Steering Group, we can identify specific concerns and drive forward improvement via positive dialogue with the organisers. Raising awareness about the need for more respect for Intellectual Property is a real issue forlogoemap design led companies. After all, the Fairs are one of Europe’s leading showcases for new and innovative products to be launched and it is critical to each and every exhibitor investor that they can trade in an environment where there is an absolute zero tolerance of IP theft.

Steering Group member Patrick Heeley of Villeroy and Boch said, “A deciding factor for us attending Spring Fair is that ACID will be present with their on the spot mediation service. I would also like to see a heightened acknowledgement by the organiser’s on their zero tolerance policy to copying.”

LSA’s Penny Laughton added, “I would like to see an Emap board director fully engaged with ACID and the issue of IP.”

ACID’s IP Steering Group members also include, Black & Blum, Creative Tops, Caroline Gardner Cards, Fiesta Collectibles and Jan Constantine.autumn_logo_large_cmyk

Following our previous campaign against the Fair Guide, produced by a company called Construct Data Verlag GmbH based in Austria, we are aware of a similar exhibition guide called Expo-Guide, produced by a company registered in Mexico, which appears to be virtually identical.

Exhibitors at major exhibitions are sent a mailshot for ‘free’ advertising space in an ‘exhibitors directory’.  They are asked to check that the accompanying order form has the correct data on it after which ‘your free listing will be activated’  However, some people use the attached form to make corrections to their ‘free listing’ and submit it, unaware that they are using the form which requests a ‘payable insertion’.  As the offer is sent at roughly the same time as official exhibition documentation, the confusion occurs because the Expo Guide offer letter is headed ‘Exhibitors Directory in the Expo-Guide’ and also states the name of the exhibition where a stand has already been booked.  Many people sign the document believing that their name will appear in the actual exhibition ‘list of exhibitors’ guide for the exhibition.

The cover letter has clear notification that the ‘Expo Guide’ is ‘independent, objective and not related to any organiser or marketing association.’ However, this information is set out in the body of the text, and is not immediately obvious to the reader.

The order form itself, where you are encouraged to ‘please confirm the accuracy of your details’ also states ‘This form is only for your correct listing as an individual advertisement entry’ and this is also misleading. The actual payment terms and length of the agreement are in smaller print at the end of the document. 

There it states that the cost of the listing in the Expo-Guide will be 1181 Euros, that it is a 3 year contract and will continue for that period unless ‘cancellation notice is given in writing by letter at the latest 3 months before order’s expiry’ which is not a clear statement and liable to misinterpretation.

If you sign a contract without having thoroughly read all the small print, you are legally responsible. You cannot argue that you were unaware of any of the obligations that will then bind you. Your only option will be to argue that there is something fundamentally wrong with the contract, such as a failure of consideration, or a breach of the contract. Even then, the contract may be deemed only ‘voidable’ and not totally void or invalid.  Click here for a downloadable version of this advice and an example of the form and the cover letter.







 if you don’t read the small print!



 LESS COPYING, MORE IP AWARENESS! This was ACID’s verdict after Interiors 2010. “Having supported this ACID Accredited exhibition for nearly a decade” said CEO Dids Macdonald, “We are cautiously optimistic that there has been a significant reduction in the number of complaints handled by ACID and generally, an increased awareness about the need for respect for intellectual property. Now, more than ever, there is a real need for all brands, whether micro enterprises, SME’s or well known brands to create an IP strategy.”

Presenting the Lighting Association Awards Dids said, “Whether a design is a portable luminaire, a non portable luminaire, best energy saving product, best innovation or indeed the lighting show design of the year –it will be underpinned by intellectual property.  This could be a patent for a unique invention, the trade name under which it will be marketed, design right in the creative design and the tangible form, or copyright in the way that it is described on packaging and  marketing material or on the company’s website. All this is valuable intellectual capital, which will be the differentiator between success and failure in today’s competitive market for  micro enterprises, SME’s and well known brand names.”

Speaking to some of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers Macdonald added, “We are no longer a nation of shop keepers, we are a knowledge economy and, as such, intellectual property is the lifeblood of successful companies in the UK today. The creative industries (and the lighting industry is very much part of this) collectively contribute a significant 8.2 %, or nearly 120 billion pounds, to the UK’s GDP. The rest of the world looks to the UK lighting industry to lead in innovation, safety, technical expertise/standards, sustainability and best practice and they have every reason to. One of the most difficult challenges facing those who bring new (and subsequently successful) ideas and products to market is the constant threat of them being copied. So key to success in the 21st century will be to create an IP strategy to protect, exploit and commercialise your new products.”

ACID has been supported by the Lighting Association (described as a very credible mouthpiece for the industry) for many years now; in fact they were one of the first to embrace ACID’s aims and objectives. One of their top priorities, as an ACID trade association partner, is to continue to promote education and awareness about the importance of respect for intellectual property. Theft is theft, whether it’s a wallet, a watch or a new design. Design theft costs livelihoods.

Another first for the Lighting Association was the announcement that this year the 2010 Student Design Awards will include, for the first time, an intellectual property requirement and criterion. The aim is to ensure that all design students are aware of the intellectual property they create and are better equipped to come to market. Entrants will need to be able to demonstrate that they identified different types of intellectual property relevant to their designs and be seen to have taken steps to protect their IP rights.

The list of Award winners are shown below.

Best Portable Luminaire

Winner      Pacific Lifestyle ( Aimbry)

                     Fleur Ceramic Range

Best Non Portable Luminaire & UK Lighting Design of the Year

Winner       Illuminati SRL

                      Meta Swan Series

 Best Energy Saving Product

 Winner      Oaks Lighting

                      7933-6 Messia Range

 Best Innovation

 Winner      Endon Lighting

                       EL10055 Halogen / LED downlight

Presentation of Best Innovation 2010 Endon

The awards for Best Stand were as follows;

Best Small Free-build Stand    Winner   -    Crimway Limited

Best Large Free-Build Stand    Winner   -    Valsan (UK) Limited

Best Shell Scheme Stand            Winner   -     Carlos Remes Lighting Co.

 Dids Macdonald presents Best Innovation Award to Endon Lighting



interiorslogocbACID were delighted to be asked onto the judges panel at Interiors, Birmingham to decide between many talented young designers whose work was on show last week.  The judges panel comprised of Barbara Chandler from the Evening Standard, Damian Walton from the House of Fraser and Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO.  Each judge concentrated on a different area, from design creation to manufacture, with ACID’s role being to assess the students knowledge of IP rights and how to commercially exploit their designs.  IP was at the forefront with one student who had taken out a RCD (registered community design) to afford protection for their design.

The New Design Britain awards, in cooperation with the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and sponsored by Willis and Gambier (a long-standing Member of ACID) were the culmination of months of hard work by the students and the organisers UBM, to find the very best product designs the UK has to offer, with over 150 entries from over 80 universities.  ACID supplied 1 year’s free ACID membership to all the winners and free merchandise from ACID Trading.

Helena Carelson

(L to R) Dids Macdonald, Damian Walton and Barbara Chandler judging Helena Carelson, who has been the first to take up her free ACID membership.

For information on the other award winners click here.


They’re back — the UK’s most prestigious homes and product design awards return for their fifth year. The Grand Designs Awards, tied to the hit Channel 4 TV series, celebrate the most innovative and beautiful domestic architecture and product design.

Kevin McCloud (below) ACID Ambassador and presenter of Grand Designs comments:

Kevin McCloudNewcp

“There are awards, and then there are the Grand Designs Awards. These are the awards that really matter, that are wide-reaching, and that are supported by some of the finest and most authorative judges in the country. They are widely respected throughout the industry, and the projects that win are truly first-class. They’re awards that connect with the public. They’re about people who have passion – who create and enter their projects, and it’s great to reward such dedication.”

The search is now on for the best homes and products from around the globe that demonstrate the determination, dreams and sheer hard work of ordinary people creating extraordinary things. Just like the TV programme, the awards are renowned for championing cutting-edge contemporary house design and pioneering products from tomorrow’s design scene. New for 2010 are categories that recognise the best international home, and two new green design categories created in partnership with acclaimed eco-charity BioRegional. The judges this year include some of the biggest names in the business, such as ACID Ambassador Sebastian Conran, Wayne Hemingway, George Clarke, Orla Kiely and Oliver Heath.

The Grand Designs Awards 2010 launches on 3 December 2009.  Deadline for entries is 21 February 2010. All entries must be made online at www.granddesignsawards.com Winners and finalists will be announced at the official VIP awards ceremony on 6 May 2010 in central London and Kevin McCloud will present the awards.

For further information on the Grand Designs Awards 2010 click here,  contact Nisha Ashra on 01992 570 030; email nisha@granddesignsawards.com or visit www.granddesignsawards.com

Last week ACID received  an ‘invitation’ from expo-guide to ‘update the pre-registered listing in the exhibitors directory’ and stated ’Your entry has been published to date for free under the following event’  above a field on the form that mentioned Birmingham Autumn Fair.

In the accompanying letter it asks for any data corrections to be made and also that on receipt of these modifications a free listing will be activated. 

What it does not make clear is that if you fill in the accompanying form (thinking that you can use it for modifications or to get a free listing) you are signing up to a 3 year agreement at a cost of 1181 Euros per year!  There is a reference to this in the ‘grey print’ at the bottom.

Do not respond to any of these requests – they are nothing to do with the exhibition that you are taking stand space with and if you do have any queries about your show guide listing ring the organisers.  Expo Guide has nothing to do with Emap, UBM, Clarion or any other of the UK Exhibition event organisers. 

For those that fell victim to FairGuide in a similar way and those of you that are new to to the exhibition arena – BE WARNED!  ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT!  Whilst FairGuide was based in Austria, Expo-Guide is based in Mexico – a possible side effect from swine flu?  For a clearer look at the form click here

Exhibition Organiser EMAP’s recent press release announces that exhibitors and buyers are gearing up for a recession-busting Autumn Fair International at Birmingham’s NEC (September 6-9).  The show will see the launch of thousands of new products that have been designed to kick-start the home and gift industry in the run-up to the vital Christmas trading period and spring 2010.

Feedback from suppliers  participating at the fair indicates that many are cautiously optimistic about the future and are tailoring their ranges to counter the impact of the economic downturn and help retailers boost profits.  Says Louise Young, managing director of Emap Connect Home & Gift: “Autumn Fair is an essential trading platform for buyers and exhibitors. It remains, by far, the season’s largest buying event for home and gift. With retailers generally ordering more frequently, we anticipate an increase in the number of buyers looking for Christmas products and new lines for next year. They will not be disappointed. Suppliers at the fair have met the credit crunch head-on and will be introducing exciting, innovative products with keen price points to tempt buyers.”

ACID Member ‘Adornment by Gilli Reeves’ will debut at Autumn Fair.  Gilli Reeves comments: “I specialise in the design of hand painted commemorative pillows, which are ideal for any occasion. They make wonderful gifts to celebrate any event, such as a wedding, anniversary, christening or birthday.” Her chosen fabric is Ivory Shantung polysilk. Script is added using an acrylic paint, which is pink or blue in the baby line, but gold throughout the rest of the ranges.

Other longstanding ACID members attending Autumn Fair will include The Little Dog Laughed, Lanka Kade, Wellywarmas, John Crane Ltd, Claire Louise. R.V. Astley, CIMC, Culinary Concepts and India Jane – to name just a few.  ACID will have a stand in the entrance to Hall 3 Stand L02 and will be on hand for help and advice during the whole show.

For further information about Autumn Fair open the document below or click on the link.



For 24 years, New Designers has been bringing together the very best in UK graduate design, showcasing the work, energy and talent of some 3,500 young designers every July in the Business Design Centre, London, N1. It’s the freshest and most vibrant show of its kind.

Discover the creative energy of the next generation from architecture to animation, furniture to fashion, graphics to glass.


PART 1:  9 - 12 July 2009
Textiles, Fashion & Accessories
Contemporary Applied Arts 
Ceramics & Glass
Jewellery & Precious Metalwork
One Year On
PART 2: 16 – 19 July 2009
Product Design
Furniture Design
Visual Communications (including Graphic Design and Illustration)
Spatial Design
One Year On
Book now 08448 480 145
Book online www.newdesigners.com
Please quote ND114

New Designers takes place at the Business Design Centre, London, N1 OQH.  Nearest tube Angel. For information on opening times and traveling to the venue please visit our website www.newdesigners.com

Discounted Ticket Offer £8.50 with code + £1.50 booking fee.  Onsite ticket £14.00


“Supporting new young design talent is exactly what ACID is all about”  Dids Macdonald, CEO ACID

The Cabinet Maker’s Young Designer Awards showcased some of the most exciting, innovative and imaginative design talent across three key industry sectors.  The 12 finalists who were presented with free membership of ACID for a year and an ACID Safe Pitch Kit, now have IP armoury in place to go to market confidently to fully exploit the IP in their new designs. 

Margaret Miller, Master of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and ACID CEO Dids Macdonald presented the awards which were judged on on innovation, functionality, practical design, aesthetic value and commercial viability. Congratulating one of the winners, Amy Vinn (pictured left), Dids said, “Each of these elements can be IP protected in one way or another to ensure a product is protected by a robust IP strategy”.   

An Intellectual Property strategy is the X-factor that all new designers need to ensure they can go to market with confidence. Design protection means livelihood protection and should mesh into a long term marketing plan – whether you are a new designer just starting off in the commercial world or an established SME who has had the misfortune to experience design theft survival techniques in this economic climate include protecting your commercial equity.

New Designer finalist Anne Schiffer from Marble in a Hole gave her view on the importance of IP protection before she joined ACID. ”I knew IP protection was a big deal but I was pretty clueless as to how I should go about safeguarding my work. I was lucky that the business start-up advisor at my university had set up a meeting for me with an IP solicitor. He gave me a run down of all the possibilities and helped me with my first design registration. However, this was a one off and I doubt I could afford to go there every time I need some advice. So the next day I became a member of ACID.”

Asked what advice she would you give other new designers regarding IP protection Anne said, “Make sure you know how to protect your designs before you put your work on public display. If you don’t happen to have a solicitor in your family, join up with ACID to ensure you get all the information you need. One of the most valuable aspects to membership is using the ACID Design Data Bank. I had an exhibition coming up when I applied for my first UK design registration to the UK Intellectual Property Office which is why I was eager to get my work protected. I figured I’d send in the application, pay the money and all would be done and dusted. Unfortunately the whole process takes a little bit longer than I anticipated. Luckily I was a new member of ACID which meant I could put the ACID logo on all the publishing material that I was going to use at my exhibition. That really put my mind at rest. Also, I’m currently looking into getting an EU wide design registration for my marble stool which I will sort out with the support of ACID”.










ACID (Anti Copying In Design), together with ACID Accredited law firm Hammonds frequently holds seminars to bring interested parties together to discuss various commercial subjects relevant to business growth. A franchising seminar will be held at 13.00 at the NEC, Birmingham during Spring Fair and Premier KIDS exhibition on 2nd February in Hall 16. If you are exhibiting or visiting come and hear how brands can expand through Franchising   Using a case study experts in the field will demonstrate how you can set up a franchise operation and hear about the success of Neil Chapman from Boatshed. There will also be a brief introduction on how to set up a franchise operation including an IP Health audit, franchising guidelines and an overview of how to finance franchising.

Franchising is one of the most successful and powerful methods of expanding your business, while remaining in control of your business identity. Last year the franchising industry grew twice as fast as the UK economy and turnover in the sector has grown ten-fold since the 1980′s to nearly £11 billion.

We do hope you will be able to join us – please contact Jane Stephenson of ACID janes@acid.uk.com or telephone the ACID hotline to reserve your place on 0845 644 3617

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