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UX14 - Beauty And The Beast: The Role Of IP Law In The Design Process (Manojna Yeluri)

October 10, 2014

UX14 - Beauty And The Beast: The Role Of IP Law In The Design Process (Manojna Yeluri)

Back in 2011, ‘super’ angel investor Ron Conway, called design and user experience the new intellectual property. UX is one of the biggest legally recognized business assets in the corporate world today. Having said that, there’s little focus on incorporating legal information at the design stage thereby leading to the creation of cutting edge intellectual property that cannot be protected or monetized.

As UX professionals acknowledge the need to incorporate a more customer-centric approach in design strategies, it becomes important to continuously ask, ‘does the customer or user find my product attractive and useful?’ Recent trends suggest that the more popular devices emphasize great design aesthetics with functionality. To many the future of design is the marriage between form and utility, however Intellectual Property law does not share this perspective. Instead of protecting it under one single IPR, the law seeks to protect the design as separate elements under copyright, patents, trademarks or trade dress. Should designers then be privy to legal know-how at all stages of the design process? How do UX and CX strategies change owing to the form-functionality debate? And finally, does design need a change of outlook or does the law need to catch up?


October 10, 2014

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Other Decks in Design


  1. “I want a company that knows how to handle a

    customer.” - Case Study, Business Weekly, May 1998 Customers are Forever “Companies with disdain for their customers provide bad service and poor user experience.” - “Customer Experience versus User Experience: What’s the difference and does it matter?” by Jon Innes, November 2013
  2. “The reality is that generic elements of digital interfaces or

    parts of websites are in fact owned by various corporate entities and some of these entities have no intention of commercializing them within their own products. Simple functions within UX design as basic as menu systems and “upgrade” buttons are patented. These patents cannot be freely used by the people who don’t own them. I am sure almost every UX designer has unknowingly infringed upon a U.S. patent.”
  3. IGNORANTIA JURIS NON EXCUSAT Not knowing what the law says

    is not a valid excuse What is innovation that doesn’t benefit anyone?
  4. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels

    like. Design is how it works.”
  5. The Legal Perspective The aesthetic and functional components of any

    intellectual property desirous of protection, need to be looked at as separate aspects. •Copyright •Trade Dress •Patents – Design or UTILITY
  6. MULTIPLICITY AND CONFUSION As intellectual property ownership becomes more fragmented,

    the number of patent licenses required to develop technologies will increase, hindering innovation.
  7. Should legal know-how become a part of initial creative stages

    and a part of design strategy? How can UX design respond to these legal gaps but still ensure optimal CX?
  8. "But for the breakthrough innovators of the 21st century, design

    has moved onto a much larger stage. It is where high function meets high style. And the traditional disciplines of IP — patents, trademarks and copyrights — are no longer ends unto themselves but are now viewed as component parts of a larger whole."