Since 2011 brands and Skandium have been working with Intellectual Property lawyers and British MP’s in order to bring UK design copyright laws into line with those of the rest of the EU, which came into a repeal on 28 July, 2016, giving a depletion period for existing copies to be sold within a six- month period concluding on the 28th January 2017.
What it meansThe change in legislation means that the once a safe-haven for design copies, the UK has increased the design protection on items from 25 years from the date it was designed to 70 years plus the life of the author. This is a welcome change across the creative industries as it not only applies to industrial design like furniture but also books and other creations that enjoy protection. This is a welcome change across the creative industries as it not only applies to industrial design like furniture but also books and other creations that enjoy protection.
ImportanceThe new law protects the manufacturers who have invested time into marketing and product development of designer’s work, creating jobs with regulated working environments, craftsmanship and providing a fair living wage. In turn, it also protects consumers who may be tricked into buying fakes thinking they’re the valuable original design and promotes the authenticity of design. Furthermore, approved manufacturers in turn often set up foundations to preserve the legacy of their key designers and designs meaning that exhibitions like the Eames exhibition at the Barbican, the Le Corbusier exhibition at Centre Pompidou in Paris or even the famed ‘Ice Cube celebrates the Eames’, can exist and encourage future generations to be inspired. For every Alvar Aalto vase sold, Iittala pays royalties to the Alvar Aalto Foundation that works to save his buildings around the world and operate several museums, publish books and hosts seminars.
Alvar Aalto's Aalto vase
Charles Eames and Ice Cube celebrates the Eames poster, sitting on the DAT-1 chair[/caption] Other examples are the Arne Jacobsen Foundation recently paid for the replacement of the windows at Jacobsen’s St Catherine’s College in Oxford, or the work done by the Le Corbusier Foundation, researching, documenting and saving these designers heritages. Without royalty payments, none of this would be possible.
Arne Jacobsen's St Catherine's College, Oxford[/caption]
A note from our founder“I’m happy to learn that after a long legal process, Britain will finally join the rest of Europe when it comes to Intellectual Property protection for designs such as furniture. Meaning that product designers now enjoy the same rights and protection as authors, composers, photographers and many others in the creative world. This is a victory for the British and European design community. Not only does this protect the craftsmanship and legacy behind classic designs for generations to come, but also the manufacturers who have invested years in product development and marketing, bringing unique products to market that were ground-breaking and sometimes unsuccessful when introduced. In our experience at Skandium is that people increasingly care about quality, provenance, fair working conditions and environmental concerns. We welcome that genuine furniture is now protected just like music and books. Britain prides itself on its creative industries so this change pays dues to that claim.” Magnus Englund, co-founder of Skandium
The Eames lounge chair and ottoman
Parting noteRight now mid 20th-century designs are very popular, but also we see increasing interest in new designers work. The new change in the law protects not only the work of past designers such as; 1960s (Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe), 1970s (Alvar Aalto, Poul Henningsen and Charles Eames), 1980s (Ray Eames and Marcel Breuer) and more recently, (Hans J. Wegner and Robin & Lucienne Day). But also future and current designers such as Barber & Osgerby, Anderssen & Voll, Cecilie Manz, Christina Liljenberg Halstrøm, SPACE Copenhagen and Antonio Citterio. We are delighted in the change to protect the heritages and the workers that carry inspiring design forward; with one eye on the past, we look forward to seeing the continuing protection and support for the creative industry.
If you would like to find out more about mid-century design, take a look at our range of design books.
Cecilie Manz's Caravaggio rang
Anderssen & Voll's Outline sofa