Intellectual property could be the key to beating competition

It was great to read Julian Sanders’s proposition that ‘Royalties may be the answer’ (DW 28 September).

Building on his ideas further, should the UK product design industry aim to be even more ambitious and generate greater long-term revenue from intellectual property rights? A disappointing finding of The Business of Design: Design Industry Research 2005 (Design Council) was that only 3 per cent of UK designers receive royalties from IP rights.

If UK manufacturers and product producers really are to meet the Department of Trade and Industry’s mantra of competing on innovation and not price, then they are going to need a big hand, and soon.

Surely product design groups with good (and protectable) ideas could be the perfect partners to invigorate product ranges where high design value has been the first – most critical – victim of price competition from Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Neil Tierney, Director, Lightweight Medical and Element 06, Glasgow, G51 3UW

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