Protecting your IP

I first noticed it when I was a kid, just how similar some products from different manufacturers appeared. For example, no sooner had Vauxhall announced the revised Viva in 1967 than Ford brought out their rather similar all-new Escort. Both were predated and influenced by the ‘coke-bottle’ Vauxhall Victor that made such an impression less than a year earlier.

It’s happened again recently, with near indistinguishable (in my view of course) mid-range hatchbacks from Vauxhall, Ford, and also Renault. Whether this is due to itinerant car stylists, espionage, or just chance, only an insider could tell, but no one seems to complain.

By contrast the recent case between Dyson and Vax over the similarities of two vacuum cleaners seems rather small beer, but of great concern no doubt to the new hero of British manufacturing. Recently revised design rights legislation might have seen a different outcome but the message seems clear; protecting a design is difficult.

Most products have a shelf life so my attitude remains that unless a new idea has a unique and patentable element that will help deter the competition from infringing your IP, then cracking on and getting a well designed and sharply promoted product to market is the smartest move.

Please call me to discuss your new idea, in confidence.