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The Society of British and International Design is set to tackle a persistent taboo in the interior design industry – the issue of non-payment – during one of its biggest annual events for design professionals.

This all-too-common industry injustice is a challenge SBID will address head on during the forthcoming SBID Meet The Buyer event in October 2019. A panel discussion featuring an expert line-up will outline the issues and examine what’s being done to protect professionals. Designers, specifiers and manufacturers are all welcome to take part in the discussion.

Getting paid by a client at the end of a project can be a thorny issue for interior designers and is still one of the biggest challenges for many designers. With construction and interior design among the least regulated professions, many professionals in these industries remain at the mercy of clients when it comes to payment. When a client chances non-payment, which often occurs where the sums are substantial, the costs and delays incurred by the professional for court proceedings often outweigh the sum in question. In these cases, the designer or contractor is more willing to settle for a lower sum than the due amount.

Jo Frances

Joanne Frances
Interior Designer


Stephen Probert
Head of IP Office Mediation Service

Vanessa Brady

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE
Interior Designer & Founder of SBID

Speaking on the panel will be interior designer Joanna Frances, who recently won a case against a client for non-payment; Head of Intellectual Property Office Mediation Service Stephen Probert and SBID CEO Dr Vanessa Brady, OBE who has also had her own experiences of non-payment.

As a campaigner for regulation in the interior design industry, Vanessa Brady, has raised the issue of non-payment regularly at cross-party government meetings in parliament, and is now inviting the industry professionals who are likely to be or have been directly effected by the issue to openly engage with the experts and their peers to discuss their thoughts and experiences in one of the exclusive SBID Meet the Buyer Business Seminars.

The seminar will take place at 10.30am on Thursday 24th October as part of the SBID Meet The Buyer event, which brings together some of the best interior designers to meet face to face with leading design-led product manufacturers from around the world.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s event with access to the exclusive business seminars, click here to enquire about booking.

The Audio Lounge Showroom was filled with designers and architects wanting to know more about IP Law or get further clarity on their creative rights at this important and informative SBID accredited CPD event.

IP or “Intellectual Property” right is a legal protection offered to protect the “creative ideas” of an artist, musicians, writers, designer, filmmakers or manufacturer so that no third party can use that idea.
Chris Mc Leod from Squire Sanders UK LLP and first vice president of ITMA led the talk on the various methods by which our creative ideas and designs (intellectual property) are protected and the levels of protection offered by each.

SBID President Vanessa Brady, DJ Mike Reed and Mrs. Cynthia Wilkinson from “Mark Wilkinson” design supported his talk by giving
examples of events where infringement of their design ideas occurred and how they tackled them.
Mrs. Cynthia Wilkinson told us that by taking action against people who copied their designs sent a strong message to deter others from doing the same. This allowed them to secure the exclusivity of their design in order to keep its authenticity and thus create a profitable business.

Chris highlights that essentially there are UK registered designs; unregistered designs, copyrights, and EU design laws (also known as community registered design), which protect the works of allcreative people.
He also briefly mentions trademark, which protects a business brand in the form of words, letters, logos, pictures, packaging, sound and smell.

Carrying out the appropriate searches before registering a name, as a trademark will ensure that you are not infringing third party right. Copyright and Unregistered design rights are automatic rights that protect specific aspects of the designs. However in times of infringement it is usually difficult to prove the date when the design came into existence, and also if the third party produces a similar design without actually copying your design then there is no infringement.

Registered Design give a well­‐defined protection for your design as compared to unregistered design or copy right. Once your design has been proved to be “novel” having “individual character” and has not been published then the UK design registry will register your design and offer protection for that design for 25 years. However there is a grace period of one year given following publication of the design by the designer.

Community Registered Design offers clearly defined and strong protection through out the UK and European Union.
The advantage of this route is that you can register several designs in one application and you can keep the designs undisclosed for up
to 30months after filing to stop your competitors form learning of it.
“The fees for community registered design are reasonable and compare favorably with the over all cost of national registration in all EU countries.”
Another advantage for a community registration is that as the European Union grows geographically then the community registered design protection will be even greater.

This brief article highlights in a simplified way some of the important aspects of IP laws and you should seek professional advise before registering your designs. I would in future register my designs because in the long run it would give my brand exclusivity and it would save me a lot of money in legal costs since there will be strong evidence supporting my designs if an infringement occurred.

Author: Interior designer and SBID member Sangeeta Goyal.


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