Anti Copying in Design (ACID) celebrates 25-year history

At a landmark event formally celebrating Anti Copying in Design’s (ACID) twenty-five years since it was founded, many from the world of IP and design were present to welcome the Minister for Intellectual Property and AI, Viscount Camrose, Creative Industries Co-Chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Iconic designer Sebastian Conran, Design Council CEO Minnie Moll and ACID’s Chief Counsel Nick Kounoupias, who each spoke about the importance of intellectual property (IP) and design. Viscount Camrose gave a rousing speech applauding the design economy as well as congratulating ACID’s contribution.

The Minister, Viscount Camrose said, “ACID has been a strong and consistent champion for SME designers for 25 years. Both in your own right and as a key member of the Alliance for IP, you have campaigned to ensure that IP rights are valued. The government has been pleased to work with ACID to help ensure our IP system continues to support creativity and innovation in design, and that our design system works effectively for smaller design-led businesses and lone designers.”

He further added, “I know that the introduction of criminal sanctions for unregistered designs is an important issue for ACID. We will be seeking evidence on this topic within our design consultation, so I would urge you all to respond. I can assure you that the views of all respondents will be considered.” Read the Minister’s full speech here.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council, Said, Intellectual property rights are the lifeblood of the creative industries. Without it, we don’t have creative industries. With it we have one of the most important industrial sectors in the United Kingdom now, leading the world and delivering growth when most of the rest of the economy is sluggish.”

On AI, Baz was forthright, citing that the elephant in the room is AI and machine learning, which looks like it’s going to drive a coach and horses through all the protection we’ve enjoyed the last 50 years for design and design rights. There are answers, and it shouldn’t all be in the courts of law. The answer is reforming IP, copyright and patent law. Digital watermarking and other such devices like blockchain are also available technologically as solutions. But one thing’s for certain, he emphasised; we have to do something about it.

Laura Newbold Breen, ACID’s Chief Operating Officer, before introducing Design Council CEO Minnie Moll, congratulated her on her mega achievement, securing the UK as the destination for the 2025 World Design Organisation event.

Minnie Moll, Design Council CEO said, “The work that ACID does is so important, and it’s going to get even more important as we seek a level playing field for design that puts planetary needs front and centre, as well as navigating our way through AI”.

Design Advocate and Icon, Professor Sebastian Conran, ACID Ambassador talking about design law said, “There are laws in place intended to prevent blatant copying to take place, but they are often expensive and cumbersome to enact. Also, if the copyist is well funded, there can be huge personal risk for a small entity to take them to court to gain compensation. I had one client who had to remortgage her house to win such a claim.”

Read Sebastian’s full speech here.

Dids Macdonald OBE, ACID’s CEO said Design protection should not be about deep legal pockets. IP ethics, respect and compliance must be a given to make corporate social responsibility credible. She quoted Mark Getty who said, “Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century”. Together, let’s ensure that respect for intellectual property becomes not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative. ACID’s work remains more crucial than ever as the infringement of original work is an ongoing crisis. There are still mountains to climb!”

Read Dids’ speech here.

ACID’s trailblazing work and ongoing campaigning has been a game changer in championing designers and the importance of their IP rights’ protection. This has influenced and brought about positive change in the legal and political landscape. The Design Economy is one of the success stories of the UK contributing nearly £100 billion to the UK’s GVA and the protection of its intellectual capital is critical.

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