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“Commission it, don’t copy it!”

Written by Rehana Ali and Inam Ali on 01 July 2012

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Retail giants and high street retailers are being compelled to back UK designers by publicly pledging to commission their work rather than copy it. The pledge has been initiated by the Anti-Copying and Design Group (ACID) due to financial and other issues faced by thousands of independent designers to take on the retail giants and high street retailers.

ACID has been set up to assist and protect the designers from copyright infringement and to also represent them in disputes. John Lewis, Next and Selfridges have all signed up to the pledge demonstrating their support towards stamping out abuse of intellectual property rights.

Retail giant Marks and Spenser is also being urged to sign up to the pledge following alleged copyright infringement of a flower design by a Leeds based designer Rachel Taylor. M&S apologized to the designer for using the design on a new range of t-shirts and denies copyright infringement as they claim they were unaware of the existence of Miss Taylor's design.

Section 16 of the Copyright Designs and Patent Act 1988 gives a copyright owner the exclusive right to deal with their work. If anyone other than the copyright owner uses the work without the owner's permission, then infringement will have taken place.

There are two types of Copyright infringement:

- Primary infringement - where a person is liable regardless of their state of mind.

- Secondary infringement - where a person is only liable if they were aware they were dealing with an infringing copy.

Miss Taylor is still currently pursuing M&S for compensation. M&S claim that they bought the T-shirts in good faith from a supplier and after being made aware of the issue withdrew the product from sale.

If you need assistance with an Intellectual Property matter, then get in touch with our IP Department and speak to one of our specialists who will be happy to help and guide you.

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