M&S pledges support for anti-copying campaign

Marks & Spencer has written to campaign group Anti-Copying In Design (ACID), declaring its support for the defence of intellectual property rights.

M&S joins the ranks of Next, Selfridges and John Lewis, which have all previously made similar commitments.

M&S said in a statement to ACID: 'Marks & Spencer is mindful of its own and others' intellectual property rights and will not, as we have said previously, knowingly infringe any third-party rights.'

The retailer has been under pressure to comply with ACID guidelines, following an out-of-court settlement involving an alleged copyright infringement of products designed by party dress designer Lucy Locket.

ACID chief executive Dids Macdonald wrote to M&S director Vittorio Radice, inviting the retailer to sign up to ACID's Voluntary Code of Conduct and asking for a policy statement on the matter.

Macdonald said that the statement from M&S was an important step in an ongoing campaign against design infringement. 'We're encouraging a culture of commissioning original design and not copying, and I am delighted that Marks & Spencer is communicating such a positive message to the industry,' she said.

Laura Ashley recently paid£45,876 to ACID Designer 12 Limited, trading as Kandola Silks, after lawyers Addle-shaw Goddard contacted the retailer regarding an alleged design copyright infringement.

ACID has also contacted several other retailers to invite them to sign its code. These include Signet, Boots, Superdrug, French Connection, Body Shop, Sainsbury's, H&M, Harvey Nichols, MFI and DFS.