The IP Federation, whose members include Dyson, Nokia and Microsoft, says the proposals have potentially ‘damaging’ consequences.
The Government unveiled plans to criminalise design copying earlier this year. The proposals are currently being considered by Parliament as part of the Intellectual Property Bill.
The change would see breaching design right becoming a criminal offence – in line with breaching copyright and trademark laws, which are already criminal offences. Design right gives automatic protection for unregistered designs and generally refers to 3D rather than 2D or pattern designs.
The IP Federation says it strongly opposes the measures and has outlined a number of scenarios in which it says the law change could affect designers at all levels.
The federation claims the move could dissuade multi-national companies from opening design offices in the UK, could stifle product development or could even lead to designers facing wrongful imprisonment.
It says, ‘The scenarios… illustrate a number of unintended and damaging consequences of creating criminal sanctions for infringement of registered designs. There will be many more.’