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The Intellectual Property Act – what does it mean for designers?


Published: 21st May 2014.

Sean Dennehey of the IPO presents the ten things you need to know about the new Intellectual Property Act.

The Government is making several changes to design law through the Intellectual Property Act, which received Royal Assent on 14 May. At the Intellectual Property Office, we want to make sure designers across the country know what the Act means for them and have put together a top ten to help you plan for the future.

1. It will soon be a criminal offence to intentionally copy a registered design. The criminal offence is limited to the deliberate and blatant copying of a registered design – you can continue to seek inspiration from others’ designs. But if someone deliberately takes and commercialises the design of another they could a face fine and a prison sentence of up to ten years.

2. There will be a new Design Opinions Service. The IPO will launch a new Opinions Service to give designers low-cost, non-binding and impartial opinions on whether a design right is valid or infringing someone else’s design. The scheme will give designers more information to help them decide whether or not to pursue more formal, and potentially costly, action in the courts.

3. The law is changing for all design rights to make the default owner of a design the person who designs it, rather than the individual or business who commissions it. However, if a contract is in place stating who the design belongs to then they will continue to ‘own’ the design.

4. Unregistered designs can be used for teaching purposes or private use without seeking permission of the rights holder. These exceptions mirror those that exist for registered designs. They apply only to certain restricted non-commercial uses of the design right in question.


To read the full article please visit Design Week

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