There has been several issues with copycat designs recently and I think that it is appalling that people think they can steal and copy somebody elses designs. Nevermind the fact that they think nobody will notice and that they can continue producing these products as if they were their own idea. Obviously there are times when similarities in designs occur yet there are times when you can tell that one 'designer' is trying to reproduce the work of another more talented designer. In the past week alone I have heard of three issues of copycat designs and what angers me most is I know how hard these designers work and I admire their business ethics, creating local jobs and growing their businesses.
So what can a designer maker do? Can you protect your designs to avoid copycats taking credit for your designs and ideas? The answer is Yes. ACID (Anti Copying in Design) are your voice in design theft, helping their members persue others who have stolen your 'intellectual property'. With a team of lawyers to represent their members should there be cause for them to act they can prevent design fraud. The ACID logo is synominous with purveying their strict anti copying policies and acting as a deterrant when seen on a members website and business stationery.
By becoming a member of ACID you are helping them improve their power to improve the rights of the designers and manufacturers in the UK. This also helps you protect your 'sweat equity, your products and designs'. ACID are there to help your business, no matter how big or small and offer low cost ways to protect your designs. Annual rates do vary depending on the turnover of your business, but a small indendant with an annual turnover of less than £50k can expect to pay £180 for their first years membership. A small price to pay perhaps to be able to bear the ACID logo on your website which will act as a deterent to any wannabe copycats.
Just remember to be vigilant and I know designers maybe distrught and angry when you first tell them their designs may have been copied but I am sure they would appreciate being told. Creative industries must work together to prevent design fraud and give the designers the credit they very much deserve.