keyboard_arrow_left See all news

Recent News

09 Nov 2020
January Furniture Show Dates Moved
January Furniture Show organiser postpones the event to 25-28 April 2021, due to extende...
21 Sep 2020
Time to Do More Online?
Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, talks about the importance of onlin...
11 Sep 2020
Furniture Digest | BFM Industry Support, Appointment Systems & Retail Sales Increase
Nick Garratt gives an insight into how the BFM is supporting the industry. There's acqui...
04 Sep 2020
Appointment System Weeds out Browsers
A look into how an appointment-based system can help businesses such as Artertons and Fu...
13 Aug 2020
The Furniture Makers': Here to Help
Jonny Westbrooke, CEO of The Furniture Makers' Company, the long-standing furnishing ind...
20 Jul 2020
Dan Oscroft | Whitemeadow
“We’ve made good progression, but we’re far from done yet” says Dan Oscroft, who...
10 Jul 2020
Real Business Rescue's Keith Tully on COVID-19
Real Business Rescue is a restructuring and turnaround service for businesses in financi...
03 Jul 2020
Furniture Digest | La-Z-Boy on COVID-19, Backing British Furniture & Uncertainty for Harveys
Insight from La-Z-Boy, and Barker and Stonehouse’s new campaign supporting the British...
02 Jul 2020
La-Z-Boy UK: Coping with COVID-19
Global upholstery manufacturer La-Z-Boy reflects on how its UK arm has coped with the co...
19 Jun 2020
Furniture Digest | Footfall up 40%, Advice from Retailer Vic Smith Beds & VAT Reduction
We caught up with Vic Smith Beds to find out how they are opening safely. Footfall was u...
17 Jun 2020
Vic Smith Beds: Coping with COVID-19
Independent mattress retailer Vic Smith Beds shares an insight into how they have coped ...
05 Jun 2020
Furniture Digest | Advice from Financial Consultancy & Consumer Demand
We spoke to an expert from Financial Consultancy Begbies Traynor to get advice and insig...
03 Jun 2020
COVID-19: Independent Advice from Professional Financial Consultancy Begbies Traynor
Gary Lee, North West Partner and a specialist in Business Rescue & Recovery at Begbies T...
29 May 2020
Furniture Digest | Financial Support & More Retail Reopening
The Furniture Makers' Company increased the support available, while Arlo & Jacob has ...
28 May 2020
Trend: Sustainability
COVID-19 has presented governments, businesses and individuals with unprecedented challe...
22 May 2020
Furniture Digest | BFC Inquiry & Guidance for Retailers
More information has emerged from the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) Inquiry into...
21 May 2020
How Retailers Can Prepare to Reopen
As several large-scale retailers begin to open their doors, many local retailers are st...
11 May 2020
COVID-19: The Furniture Industry Responds
We’ve been inspired by stories about these suppliers and retailers that are using thei...
21 Apr 2020
Manchester Furniture Show postponed to 2021
As a consequence of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Manch...
30 Mar 2020
Manchester Furniture Show Venue Update
Organisers comment on commissioning of Manchester Central Convention Complex as NHS ‘N...
16 Mar 2020
Furniture Shows | James Howard
It may be a trial by fire, but there’s nothing like going out on-site when you’re st...
05 Mar 2020
The Global Outbreak of COVID-19
Following the global outbreak of COVID-19, Clarion Events is continuing to monitor the l...
04 Feb 2020
January Furniture Show is home to the industry’s market movers
The value of the U.K.’s furniture and lighting retail market looks primed to advance a...
03 Feb 2020
Furniture Makers exceeds target of 100 One Step at a Time companies
The Furniture Makers’ Company has surpassed its target of 100 companies signed up to i...
12 Dec 2019
Edward Tadros | Centenary Statements
Edward Tadros, Ercol chairman since 1993, says the manufacturer plans to hold a serie...
19 Sep 2019
Tom Hughes | Kesterport
Preparations for the next January Furniture Show begin almost as soon as the last one en...
21 Aug 2019
So Much More than Furniture
As the largest furniture and interiors event of the summer, MFS is an industry event tha...
23 Jul 2019
Furniture Industry Gathered at Largest Summer Event
Manchester Furniture Show 2019 came to a close with exhibitors reporting positive reacti...
12 Jul 2019
Manchester Heats Up
The mercury will finally rise as summer comes to Manchester for the 2019 Manchester Furn...
11 Jul 2019
Tim Robinson | Gala Collezione
​​​​​​​Poland has emerged as the largest European exporter of upholstery t...
31 Jul, 2020
keyboard_arrow_left See all news

ACID | Dids Macdonald on IP Protection

Dids Macdonald, OBE Chief Executive - Anti Copying in Design (ACID), shares an overview of the importance of IP protection, especially in the current market that has seen a burst of diversity and innovation.
The vibrant furniture and interiors industry supports around 340,000 jobs in the UK, and most of its 52,000 companies have had to think on their feet, adapt and learn new ways of nimble thinking to survive in the face of unprecedented commercial challenges. The last few months have been a steep learning curve for us all.

Diversity in manufacturing through innovative redirection of resources is a route that many have taken. Britain’s bedmakers have joined the battle to beat the coronavirus crisis whilst “normal” production is at a standstill by responding, in a constructive way, to produce essential supplies for the NHS, transferring their skills to produce mattresses, foam pads for ventilators, face masks and other medical equipment. 

Companies such as the GNG Group (owners of Komfi brand) have deployed 85 staff split over three shifts to make medical mattresses. Similarly, Milbrook Beds; who, according to the National Bed Federation, had never seen a medical bed, within just 10 days this flexible team had assembled over 1000 of them in support of the NHS as has Breasley, manufacturing vital equipment including hospital mattresses, trolleys and operating table foams. The Vita Group are doing their bit too by manufacturing around 8000 mattresses. 

Another company, Redwood TTM have been working around the clock to manufacture essential medical equipment and mattresses for the NHS and Silentnight have diversified into producing face masks amongst many other stalwart companies in our amazing industry. Hats off to them and others like KI Europe, providing easy access to a wealth of digital resources during the COVID-19 lockdown period to make buying much more accessible. Lectra, too, have risen to the challenge by deploying their staff from its call centres providing guidance to customers on how to reorient production apparatus to manufacture face masks and protective apparel. And South West London interior specialist E & A Wates has swapped furniture restoration for personal protective equipment (PPE) production, yet another good news story.

E & A Wates
E & A Wates


United together, this industry has galvanised into action and reinvented itself to help play their part in this crisis. 

With the current burst of diversity and innovation, ACID has seen its IP Databank inundated with new designs being lodged – maybe lockdown has allowed more time to create and prepare for markets to open? 

So, the need for design protection is critical when we emerge from the current crisis as sadly, there are those who will see the fast track back to market through IP theft. Evidence is key so either registering new designs at the UK intellectual property office or, if relying on unregistered design, keep accurate signed and dated records recording key stages from idea to market reality. 

For companies who find themselves at the wrong end of copying, it is important to have a strategy in place. Evidence of one’s own IP ownership is critical, registered design certificates, trade marks and a design audit trail are all key parts of the evidence required for decisive action. Always, collate evidence of who the copyist is, where they are selling and, if possible, buy an example. Seek immediate advice as to the strength of your case. 

Taking legal action is not about going to Court. Often a strongly worded letter from an IP expert with all the supporting evidence can get a good result, the majority of ACID member cases have not reached a final Court hearing. Mitigating loss early enough and sending a strong message through the media and social media sends a clear anti copying policy. And don’t forget trade secrets, know how – hard to come by - easy to steal. Ensuring that only employees who need to have this information have access enables more security in the hard fought for competitive edge. 

After four years of ACID lobbying Government to ensure that post-Brexit UK designers and manufacturers can still benefit from unregistered design protection (UDR) in EU27, this has now been included in UK/EU negotiations ensuring a level playing field and reciprocity. UDR had not been included in the Withdrawal Bill and losing the stronger EU unregistered right would have been calamitous for UK designers and manufacturers. However, with this comes the caveat that if negotiations fail or there is no deal, this will not happen. Even more important to have a proactive IP strategy to underpin the IP equity in every company in this sector.

Important trade talks are being held at the moment with Australia, Japan and US and ACID is keen to ensure that there is a level playing field in all territories for the protection of the UK’s precious intellectual property. When we emerge, which we will, it must be in an environment where there is a basis of understanding and respect for the IP that major brands in this country own. Brand Britain is known for its design and manufacturing expertise and quality craftsmanship and we must be ready for global opportunities.

The British Furniture Confederation have been proactive in Parliament through the All-Party Parliamentary group for Furniture (APPG) to ensure that the industry’s voice is heard on a variety of issues which will keep this industry in business. As Ian Oscroft, Managing Director said when giving evidence to the APPG on reopening the industry, “We all need to come back together – we need retail shops to open, that will allow manufacturers to open and then the supply chain. It cannot be manufacturers opening if we have not got retail stores open.” See the full report here.

Manufacturers need time to prepare and financial support is critical to avoid a cliff edge ending. Buying British was a mantra articulated as a “must do” for Government and public sector contracts. Let’s all hope that this time next year we will be celebrating an industry that has taken the right action to help it survive!  

And finally, probably one of the most important messages. Times are tough with personal, emotional, health and commercial pressures rarely known before and, inevitably there will be casualties. The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company is the charity for the furnishing industry and has increased the package of support available to struggling employees and sole traders who have been financially shaken by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Charity, which has been supporting the welfare of people in the industry for more than 100 years, has been awarding Personal Support Grants to members of the trade to help mitigate against the loss of earnings people are experiencing as a result of being furloughed, made redundant, unable to work or a diminished order book. Never feel too proud to approach them. Financial support, when a curve ball strikes, is simple and easy to access.

Our current Master, David Woodward, MD of Celtheath is leading a grass roots charge to ask the industry to support his Step2It campaign with the intention of raising £1 for every mile walked – so, come on and get fit, Step2it and galvanise your team to walk, run, swim, ride, row or whatever to ensure that we raise the funds necessary to help those who may hit a curve ball. And lastly, if your company is not a One Step Champion, there is no better time than now!

For more information:
Processing. Please wait.