The UK has offered further encouragement to superyacht designers and naval architects working within its jurisdiction with news that it is tightening its global network to guard against intellectual property infringements. Christabel Koh will become the UK’s new IP attaché for South East Asia, joining compatriots in Brazil, China and India. Commenting on her brief, Koh said, “Based in Singapore, my remit will be to advise British companies about the IP framework and environment in key South East Asian markets, to widen and deepen the IPO’s dialogue on bilateral and multilateral issues with its local counterparts, and to keep abreast of IP-related developments across the region.”

The problem of intellectual property infringements is well known to superyacht designers, and the UK’s proactive approach to tackling this problem will be welcomed by swathes of the superyacht community, not least because the UK is the industry’s favoured legal jurisdiction.

Speaking at June’s SuperyachtDesign Week, Clyde & Co.’s John Leonida warned designers that their eagerness to procure business was invariably the cause of IP disputes. By attempting to catch the attention of owners with unique designs, designers are failing to take the necessary steps to protect their work. “Designers need to adopt a less egotistical approach to protect their work”, Leonida explained. This sentiment was echoed by Rapisardi Intellectual Property’s Elena Cristofori, who said that any design featuring unique elements should be registered with an intellectual property lawyer.



UK government action on the subject was wholly approved by the president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Roger Burt. “This latest addition to he UK’s network of IP attachés is further evidence of how the IPO is staying at the forefront of international best practice”, he said. “The UK’s IP office and IP court system are world leaders”.

And in a move that will further bolster IP protection, the UK’s Patent County Court has been renamed the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC). This step has been taken to clarify the court’s jurisdiction, which now covers all IP and not just patents. Minister for Intellectual Property said:

“These changes will make it easier and cheaper for businesses in the long run as they will now be better able to understand and navigate the specialist IP courts if a dispute occurs. This will reduce the cost of legal services and level the playing field.”

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