Taylors backs designers on World IP day

Commercial law firm Taylors Solicitors today threw its weight behind a campaign to protect designers against the scourge of copying amid a sharp rise in the number of infringements during the pandemic.

The niche north west practice is a legal affiliate of campaign group Anti Copying in Design (ACID) and is the only firm from the region on its panel.

ACID, a trade association for designers and manufacturers whose members range from individuals to multinationals, fights design theft and lobbies for design law reform.

The group is today backing World Intellectual Property Day, which is celebrated by the World Intellectual Property Office to highlight the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity and their importance in stimulating innovation and growth.

World IP Day has backing from parliamentarians, business leaders and designers as it shines a light on how SMEs can use their IP assets to build stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses and create jobs.

Tony Catterall, senior partner and head of intellectual property at Taylors Solicitors, said the firm was supporting the occasion amid an upsurge in its caseload involving design infringements worldwide.

He said: “The proliferation of web-only fakes is a growing trend we have identified in advising clients in the textiles and home furnishings sector as we emerge from Covid-19. Instructions to our team have more than doubled as a result of these infringements over recent months.

“Sales have been booming during the pandemic for those clients who have moved fast to sell online or to supply those who do, as customers buy their wall coverings, textiles and soft furnishings via the internet rather than from bricks and mortar stores.

“We have seen a major increase in instructions from clients with claims against infringers seeking to exploit the move to web sales by offering copies of clients’ original products from multiple shop fronts on the internet, including Amazon and eBay.

“The problem has been exacerbated by people working from home, with infringers using bedroom sellers to set up web stores, who when confronted naively protest they are only trying to supplement their income.

“We are currently involved in claims for numerous furniture distributors, textile and wallpaper manufacturers who recognise the need to move fast to protect their brands and their IP.

“To assist them, we have been able to swiftly get copied products removed from web platforms, often within 24 hours of the issue being identified, curbing online infringements in the UK, Europe, United States and wherever on the planet that our clients’ IP rights extend to.

“World IP Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the scourge of IP infringements and the impact it has on individuals and businesses across the globe.”

Dids Macdonald, chief executive of ACID, said: “Flag-flying for the UK’s incredibly talented designers on World IP Day emphasises the importance of design and design protection as we negotiate new trade deals.

“The UK’s designers need to be assured of a much stronger and more robust UK enforcement system now the UK designers have lost the all-important automatic EU Unregistered Community Design protection in EU27, post Brexit. We will also continue to press government for criminal provisions for unregistered design infringement against IP theft.”