Intellectual Property | Faux Furniture Furore

Section 65 of the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which passed through its second reading in the House of Lords on 14th November 2012 could see an end to the manufacture of replica antique furniture by making it very difficult to reproduce existing furniture designs without risking intellectual property infringement.

Under the current law, furniture designs can be reproduced 25 years after their creation, which has led to an explosion of “authentic replicas” in the furniture market.

However, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill in its current form will omit section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which will mean that reproducing designs after 25 years will no longer be legal.

Under the new law, the copyright of design will be extended to the life of the creator plus 70 years bringing it in line with existing copyright law on literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. The law will also apply retrospectively, so that any book published that illustrates a work of 20th Century design may have to be edited and reprinted.

Designers and style gurus generally welcome the move. British designer, Sir Terence Conran, is said to be very happy with the new law as he believes it will encourage more investment of time and talent in new British design.

However, the replica furniture industry argues that the law will threaten more than 6,000 furniture companies and, as it currently stands, it will also affect a number of third parties, from lecturers teaching courses on design to museum curators and book publishers, all of whom would have to seek permission for displaying affected items.

As a solicitor, Rebecca Howlett, specialises in intellectual property

The following two tabs change content below.

Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London