Bichard must promote design’s role in IP battle

Mike Dempsey made a valid point (Letters, DW 13 December) that Sir Michael Bichard should continue banging on boardroom doors evangelising about the importance of design and its rightful place in that inner sanctum.

However, equally important is that ‘design equals value’ in the intellectual property it creates by leveraging and contributing to real fiscal brand values – in other words, the bottom line. In the otherwise excellent report on design and innovation by Sir George Cox, there was scant mention of design and intellectual property – it was left for Andrew Gowers to consider. In his IP review, commissioned by Gordon Brown, there were precisely 19 references to design, while patents attracted 880, copyright 329 and trade marks 129.

When the new Minister of Intellectual Property, Lord Triesman, was appointed, the Prime Minister said, ‘Take a look at the value that IP has in the UK, it’s a leading edge economy – double it’.

Gordon Brown was named in Design Week’s top 50 in 2005 as a keen supporter of design as a key contributor to our competitive edge, so maybe one of Sir Michael Bichard’s objective should be to encourage Gordon Brown, the Government, industry and key stakeholders to view design rights in equal terms as IP rights in the UK’s IP crime strategy, and not remain the poor relations and relatively unknown.

Good design is innovation’s effective conduit, and design know-how plays an important role in our intellectual capital – both are key contributors to the UK’s intellectual property. Bichard could do worse than adopt Acid’s IP strategy: design equals value – protect it, or forget it.

Dids Macdonald, Chief executive, Anti Copying in Design, London EC4

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