Craft Focus - February / March 2021 (Issue 83)

86 Online infringement Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti Copying in Design (ACID), looks at online infringement, and how you can combat it Increasingly, infringement or blatant copying online is a real challenge for lone, micro and SME designers and creators. Taking legal action can be a thankless task, especially when time and cost of enforcement takes its toll on busy SMEs, many of whom are fighting to survive through this terrible crisis. ACID has recently sent case studies to the UK Intellectual Property Office consultation on its future Intellectual Property Framework to raise awareness about the need for tougher enforcement and is hopeful things may improve. SO, WHERE DOES ONLINE INFRINGEMENT OCCUR? Well, for example on a competitor’s website, on social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), on third-party intermediaries such as eBay, Amazon, Notonthehighstreet, Alibaba, and not forgetting through video streaming/photo sites such as YouTube and Pinterest to name a few. WHAT CAN YOU DO? Niall Head-Rapson, one of ACID’s legal affiliates from McDaniels Law advises, “One thing that doesn’t cost money is what we call a takedown notice. This is where items are being displayed on websites, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram etc and you can send what’s called a takedown notice. Some of these such as Facebook have a relatively easy to use form, which you fill in or you simply send an email to the web host setting out the rights that you have. One thing you ought to consider are registrations for Trade Marks and Designs, especially if the offers for sale are on marketplace type sites. Particularly Amazon take notices much more seriously if there are registrations rather than allegations of unregistered rights. Some like Amazon have a registration system for registered rights, which make this sort of undertaking much smoother and more efficient. “This isn’t legal in the sense that it is merely disabling that offer but it takes away the oxygen of publicity. “If that doesn’t work, taking action does not necessarily mean spending thousands and thousands of pounds and ending up in court. Sometimes a letter or a couple of letters can do the trick. You do have the ability go off to court and get an injunction if it’s really urgent, and if you do have to go to court, you should also be aware that there is an Intellectual Property Small Claims Court (SCT) so things can be brought to the attention of the courts relatively cost effectively for SMEs.”