Additional Protection for Design Rights holders

Encouraging news for the UK design industry that is estimated at being worth around £35 Billion

The IPO has announced that those caught stealing registered designs and selling counterfeit goods may soon face prison sentences of up to 10 years. The proposals are in response to a review commissioned by the Government, the Hargreaves Review on Intellectual Property Rights which was published in 2011.

The criminal sanctions for the counterfeiting and piracy of copyrighted material such as DVDs and films have been referred to as providing a precedent for the new proposals. The IPO has further commented on the proposed changes stating that they act as a significant deterrent against deliberate copying which the current civil sanctions cannot provide.

The new measures:

  • Will provide designers of Smartphone’s, furniture, computers and other manufactured products an equivalent level of protection as that afforded to film DVDs by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
  • Will only cover premeditated copying, marketing and importing of designs for commercial advantage (such designs must have been registered with the relevant authorities in the EU and the UK).

The new proposals are said to be aimed at making it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property by criminalizing the behavior of those involved in the counterfeit goods market, lawyers on the other hand have argued that there is a danger of a backlash in public opinion against design rights if such copying is branded as criminal as it is not likely to be viewed as criminal by the public.

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