We have been working with the IPO following the Hargreaves Review (of IP and Growth) in 2011, which identified design as a strategically important area, and said that more work was needed to understand the issues around protecting design. The IPO has now published two research reports and a consultation on proposed changes to improve the protection of design.
Consultation on the designs legal framework
The Government has launched a consultation on its proposals to enhance the UK’s designs legal framework to make the system more accessible for businesses. The consultation follows research which looked at issues with the current framework for protecting designs and UK design as a global industry.
This consultation sets out proposals to help streamline the system and calls for other suggestions for improving the law.
The Government is consulting on the following proposals:
- improving the enforcement regime to promote better understanding of rights held by others and to help avoid disputes
- resolving uncertainties around the scope of protection
- simplifying the laws relating to the ownership of and qualification for design right
- improving the provision of information about designs
- enabling UK designs owners to be more selective about which countries they seek international registration for
Have your say on the current proposals.
UK design as a global industry
This research looked at how UK design figures in the global economy and considered how the intellectual property system can best support its growth. It identified “design-intensive industries” which are: design services, architectural and engineering services, computer and telecommunications services, printing and publishing, fashion and craft, and advanced manufacturing.
The research shows that design-intensive industries are highly export-facing. Also:
- Most design-intensive sectors export a large share of their output.
- Most design-intensive sectors contribute significantly more to UK exports than would be expected given their size.
- Around 35% of UK exports come from industries that employ higher-than-average concentrations of designers.
- Design accounts for around 2% of UK exports (calculated using weighting according to the pay of core designers). This share of exports is far higher than design’s share of either employment or output.
- In particular, specialised design services stands out as a highly export-intensive sector.
Design appears to play a leading rather than supporting role in international supply chains. Design-intensive sectors export a large share of their output directly rather than selling to UK manufacturers, who then use them to export.
Download the report on UK design as a global industry
The Development of Design Law - Past and Future
The research gathered design industry perceptions of the current system of design protection and made recommendations based on the findings.
The study concluded that cost, speed and predictability of outcome are the most important factors and need to be addressed in any future revisions to the designs legal framework. The report makes a series of recommendations to the IPO on improving each of these aspects and these have fed into the current consultation.
Download the report on The Development of Design Law - Past and Future
The consultation follows an earlier call for evidence, on how the UK intellectual property system could better support our globally successful design industry, launched at an event hosted by the Design Council and Baroness Wilcox. She urged the UK's design community to share their views on what makes our design industry tick and what Government can do to support innovation and growth.
There have been questions about whether the design industry is properly supported by the Intellectual Property system. The lack of evidence available on this innovative sector was highlighted by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his earlier review of Intellectual Property and Growth. In its response, the Government committed to gaining a better understanding of whether the design rights system in the UK is geared to the needs of business which has led to the current consultation.
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