Government committee will give copyright advice

Designers could benefit from in-depth advice on copyright, trademark, patent and intellectual property issues from a specially appointed Government committee that has just been set up.

It is the first time a dedicated committee has been set up to advise the Government on IP and copyright issues, claims a Department of Trade and Industry spokeswoman.

The Intellectual Property Advisory Committee has been established by minister for competition, consumer and markets Melanie Johnson, whose department falls under the umbrella of the DTI.

Consultancies will be able to submit their views and queries to the committee directly, says the spokeswoman. It is too early to say whether it intends to set up particular initiatives on copyright issues.

According to a DTI statement, the IPAC aims to encourage innovation, benefit consumers and meet the needs of large and small businesses, as well as consider the impact of new technology on IP.

The committee will be chaired by Intellectual Property Institute chairman Ian Harvey and will include Mandy Haberman, inventor of non-drip toddlers training cup, the Anywayup Cup.

The news is welcomed by Dids Macdonald, chief executive of Anti-Copying in Design. ‘Any committee that tackles plagiarism is good news,’ she says.

‘IP is a key issue for most businesses and the Government must support them with hands-on advice,’ she adds.

But Macdonald warns of the dangers of committee mentality, which can be ‘all talk and no action’.

The IPAC will hold its first meeting in the autumn.

Graphic designer Neville Brody, who accused Austria’s far-right Freedom Party of plagiarising a poster he designed to support the Tiananmen Square uprising (DW 16 February), is still in talks with solicitors, says a spokesman for Brody’s Research Studios.

He says the FPO did withdraw the poster, but only because Hilmar Kabas was not successful in his bid to become mayor of Vienna.

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