Design copying becomes criminal offence in UK

Published:  May 16, 2014

New legislation in the UK has outlawed ‘design copying’, in a move to “deter those who knowingly copy UK registered designs and provide greater protection for our hugely important design sector”.

The change to legislation means the protection standards are now equal to the copyright system that protects music and the trademarks that protect brands – both of which are also covered by criminal sanctions.

The group Anti-Copying in Design (A©ID) has been lobbying for these criminal sanctions, reporting that it will “act as a deterrent” as well as increase protections, and “better punish perpetrators of blatant design infringement”.

“Continued investment in intellectual property is vital to all businesses, as it contributes £16 billion to the UK economy each year,” explains Lord Younger, Minister for Intellectual Property. “It is essential that we continue to work hard to create the right environment for them to flourish so we can benefit from their creative designs, inventions and ideas.’

In Australia, original work and design is covered by copyright, but the pursual and prosecution of infringements becomes very difficult without trademarks, registration or patent. This move in the UK regulates that process and offers services to aid and protect, and its existence may help act as an example to other countries.

For more information on the new Act, visit

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