Study into Design Rights Infringement

This 15-month study, which has been commissioned by the IPO in May 2015, will develop, test and apply a methodology for periodically measuring the extent and scale of the infringement of registered and unregistered design rights in the UK. The study comprises a number of inquiry stages which in combination target a representative number of design rights holders across the UK design industries. 3 quantitative inquiries will be followed by a series of qualitative interviews. The study builds on a previous research on ‘Measuring Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights’ (Collopy et al, 2014), and on the Weatherall and Webster survey into ‘Patent infringement in Australia’ from 2009.

The aim of this research initiative is to verify the extent of design rights infringement and the impact infringement has on UK firms. The study will further investigate:

  • Design right awareness amongst designers and design companies
  • The attitudes and behavior of designers, design right owners and infringers towards design infringement
  • To what extent the infringement as well as the behavior of design right holders vary depending on the type of design right (registered or unregistered)
  • In what way infringement and the behavior of design right holders depend on the size of design businesses (e.g. individual designer or large design firm)
  • To what extend infringement and the behavior of design right holders vary depending between design sectors
  • To what extent infringements constitute civil offences, and to what degree they constitute criminal offences (according to the new UK legislation)
  • To what extent design rights holders in the UK are affected by international infringement

The research team includes Professor Ruth Soetendorp, Nick Coutts from Imperial College, Royal College of Art, Dr. Robert Pitkethly from Oxford University, Silvia Baumgart, Programme Manager of Own-it at the University of the Arts London, and Matthias Hillner from the University of Hertfordshire.