Big day today, probably the biggest of my design career to date.
Today I had the absolute privilege of being part of a group of designers/makers/manufacturers meeting with the Head of Design Policy at the Intellectual Property Office. The aim is to try and get our voice heard – to say that the UK IP process needs reforming and that UK IP law needs to change. I went in feeling like a mess and bruised because of the current challenges I am facing with infringements but looking forward to the opportunity of saying things as they are. There were some very well-known brands represented and so much knowledge, I felt a little apprehensive and so very small.
Despite the heartache it has caused, the unbelievable outright copying that Triclimb has suffered is a great example of why this change is so badly needed. If Triclimb collapses and we are left with nothing because we have attempted to fight this David and Goliath battle then we can hold our heads high. We will at least have been a part of the ‘voice’ and stood with the other members of the ACID design community in the gap for those designers and innovators who are still to come.
Why the big deal?
Well, Dids Macdonald, OBE puts it so beautifully:
‘….Generally, there is little understanding understand what it takes from the seed of an idea to market reality (usually a long journey of design, R & D prototypes, testing the market, supply chains, sales, and marketing, et al – basically a lot of sweat equity) before a penny is recouped let alone earned. Then if someone steals your designs/work there is another long, costly, and stressful journey to enforce any IP rights, made more difficult by the Goliath thieves of this world and very complicated design laws.’
Design theft in essence is stealing. It’s stealing from the designer, the businesses, the real people on the ground making these products. This is why we stand against design theft. It may be too late for us, but it’s not too late for the future.
If you’re a designers/makers/manufacturer you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to influence and to champion the cause of small innovative designers – those who have no voice because despite taking all the appropriate steps to protect their livelihood they simply cannot afford the cost of litigation to defend their designs. The law needs to be tightened and the IP process needs to be updated.
Photo credit: ACID