November 2017

A Game changer in Design Rights

When I started SBID I did so with an ambition of achieving a solution to the numerous issues designers faced in the interior design profession, and therein, I challenged issues against an overriding clique that had a hold over the sector in an unhealthy way that had stymied growth, amortisation and business development.

I have spent many years in meetings with organisations, companies and politicians in many countries, offices and business consultations. I gained a lot from that helicopter view. I learned and noted all the issues we face individually and in sectors and then like all designers do, I set about finding the solution to them. In finding one solution, you inevitably create another problem, well that is science. So the only way to resolve a problem in a micro scenario, to form a macro solution, is to do so from a global position across a variety of stakeholder issues. It was a huge task and one that has paid off although I would not be telling the truth if I didn’t admit that there were times that I wondered what I had started and questioned why I should continue. I faced a personal vendetta aimed at damaging my reputation, my family were even included and a vicious schoolgirl campaign of bullying which took almost ten years to quell.

In that time, I learned a lot about myself and about people, I now have people I regard as friends that I barely knew when I began and I have lost many fair-weather friends who turned out to be anything but. I am grateful for the filter and I now have a different perhaps more jaded view of life and peoples conduct but importantly I have a sense of achievement. If I can offer one piece of advice, it is to never give up if you are doing the right thing. I did not seek fame, I certainly did not achieve fortune or seek it as I did it on my own initiative until government funding was provided, I was the banker. This meant I worked in my practice to earn the funds to feed the development of SBID and now it is able to repay its way as it is a universally recognised brand of quality and ethics.

It has taken so many years, from when I first started out as a designer through to approaching another organisation with my ideas and then watching them steal it for their own use. Nothing worth having is free and nothing that’s free is valuable until it is crafted. So, to cover their tracks, a small group created a smear campaign to damage my reputation and ensure that the SBID would fail. It backfired. Stealing ideas is one thing, making it work and understanding the reasoning behind an idea that has not been documented meant that on numerous occasions the criminals who stole my IP walked into a cul-de-sac. They did so with attention which they had generated. I had to keep going to get to a simple position of success …without fee, without personal gain, just because it was my choice to do so. …and of course I am a stubborn woman when it comes to an injustice. I won’t allow a theft to go unpunished!

So here I am, finally with the support of the two most hard-nosed detectives from Metropolitan Police who are the global partner for SBID Intellectual Property Protection. They are fearless, they are the best the UK has and they are a success in their own right. For seven years they carried out investigations into a variety of crimes, they gathered and prepared evidence and then they brought their cases before the criminal courts – and gained a full 100% conviction rate against over 400 criminal prosecutions. They are providing the SBID members around the world with the protection the industry has long needed. The missing step was enforcement. We can all soon register designs, ideas and logos all around the world through the SBID directory which will provide TM-Eye with the information they, Trading Standards and the IPO require to bring criminal proceedings against a thief and punish all of those criminals who breach holder’s rights. Historically IP registration was worthless if punishment, cease & desist and prevention could not be enforced. We have a few cases still under investigation which we will use as case studies.

Interior design, intellectual property

From left to right; Leo Telling, BBC, Peter O’Doherty, Detective Chief Superintendent, City of London Police; Dr Vanessa Brady OBE, SBID;


On behalf of the Society of British and International Design (SBID) formally the Society of British Interior Design), SBID formally launched the IP (Intellectual Property) campaign at the House of Commons on 21st November 2017 with an MOU between SBID and TM-Eye supported by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Trading Standards and City of London Police to protect SBID members from theft and duplication of design rights and business plans or proposals. We will be bringing cases under criminal law, it is not time sensitive as civil law is. We will now have the ability through TM-Eye to provide a global solution. TM-Eye can shut down websites, and in collaboration with international enforcement agencies, the ability to hide funds, companies, domains and criminal conduct has just imploded in the world of interior design.


housf of commons; intellectual property

From left to right; Stephen Galpin, Magistrate, City of Westminster;Suzi Sendama, Mishcon De Reya LLP;David McKelvey, TM Eye Ltd; Rebecca Shelley, Trading Standards

No other destination in the UK or anywhere else, has the ability, the rights or the contracts to enforce the law under the legal enforcement rights that TM-Eye hold. Our agreement provides a solution that no other destination in the UK can replicate and our members can now seek enforcement …at no cost. SBID will be launching the Directory and providing the data each member approves to TM-Eye for instant recovery and seizure of goods or theft of ideas when evidence is uncovered. SBID will not share data with TM-Eye that is not specifically authorised by the member owner. Finally, we have a real term deterrent to prevent the huge volume of criminality in the theft of ideas and valuable design rights.

House of commons

There have been several agencies and organisations over the years that have addressed Intellectual Property issues, namely registering with their own private limited company, but none have any legal enforcement rights like the Intellectual Property Office has, and none have addressed punishment when criminals steal the registered items identity for commercial or profitable use without consent. This first and only solution to provide the victim and owners of the commercial ideas with compensation is a game changer. We will be announcing the successes of criminal investigations and cases being brought before the courts in the UK. Yes, we are going to kick this bad habit! It will create income for HMRC which is currently diverted, it will mean money paid into the treasury and therefore it will mean that all of us will gain from this initiative.

I am so glad we stood our ground and now together with the support of our partners, we the imagination and creative owners have somewhere and someone to go to for policing and enforcement.

It took a long time indeed, but then, if it was easy I’m sure it would already have been done.