Case Studies

The Alliance for Intellectual Property's membership comprises trade bodies responsible for the brightest and best UK creations. The below case studies have been written by our members stressing the importance of each of their industries to the UK, and why protecting their IP is crucial to maintain their success.


Burgon & Ball

ACID (Anti Copying in Design) Member Burgon & Ball have been producing cutting tools in Sheffield since 1730 and are well known in the garden ware industry for selling high quality, durable and beautifully designed products. In recent years the Company decided that to compete against lower cost commoditised products, it needed to invest in design to differentiate its gardening products. Creating its own design team, it has revolutionised the gardening sector and it’s award winning gardening equipment, made in the UK, is stocked by major retailers across the UK and is known for its quality and craftsmanship.

Burgon & Ball have a no-nonsense approach to enforcing their intellectual property rights having experienced 28 separate copying cases in the last 3 years and have always acted quickly to stamp out infringements. But this comes at a significant cost and they consistently describe the difficulties and costs they face in defending their intellectual property against copying and counterfeiting.

Burgon & Ball has done what the UK Government has clearly stated British businesses need to do to compete internationally. They have invested in design to add value to their products and used the quality of UK manufacturing to differentiate themselves against lower quality Far Eastern suppliers. That protection is seen as a core part of their business model. If their products can be easily copied, their investment in design will be worthless unless it can be protected and the job certainty of their 60 employees put in jeopardy.


Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is one of the most successful UK television exports in recent years, receiving the Guinness World Record for best reviewed TV series globally (2011), garnering 27 Emmy nominations (the record for a non-American show), a Golden Globe, and a further 34 awards and 41 nominations.The cast of Downton Abbey

As of 2013, Downton will be in its fourth year of production and will have spent tens of millions of pounds within the UK employing more than 400 members of crew and over 150 actors every year. But the importance of the drama production is not just experienced in direct investment in jobs and production, but in the positive wider impact to its community.

For example, an estimated one in ten overseas tourists choose to come to the UK to see locations and attractions seen in film or television productions, and the success of Downton Abbey has not only caused a marked increase in the visitor numbers to Highclere Castle (where the series is filmed) and the surrounding villages,  but more broadly in UK’s historic houses.

The downside to Downton’s global success has been the level of digital piracy that the series has experienced – it is estimated that 1.4 million people have illegally downloaded episodes through peer-to-peer networks.  At the Alliance’s 2012 Conference, Downton’s Executive Producer Gareth Neame explained the impact piracy has on the broader community:

“Has piracy stopped subsequent series of Downton... being produced?  No – but when IP is illegally exploited the contribution to the wider economy is diminished, and the positive halo to important sectors like the creative industries and tourism are compromised.  Simply put, piracy impacts our ability to re-invest back into our country and create jobs.


Football ManagerFootball Manager logo

Football Manager is one the UK’s most successful games series. Starting out in 1992 by brothers Paul and Oliver Collyer under the name ‘Championship Manager’, the Football Manager franchise has been responsible for five of the ten fastest-selling games in the UK, and now employs 77 staff in the UK. 

The downside to Football Manager’s phenomenal popularity has been the high levels of piracy that the game has attracted. To tackle this issue, Sports Interactive provided extra levels of security for its release of Football Manager 2012. The extra revenue raised as a result of the game being ‘uncracked’ for the first few weeks of its release allowed the company to hire an additional 8 people. However, even with such additional security, piracy remains a problem.  After pirated version were made available on the internet, it was found that only between one in eight to one in 12 copies of Football Manager for android, and one in four copies of Football Manager 2012 for PC had been legally purchased.


About the Alliance

The Alliance is concerned with ensuring IP rights are valued in the UK and that these rights can be properly protected. Click here for further information arrow


This section highlights some of the current activity being undertaken across the numerous bodies involved and how these issues are being addressed and raised in Parliament.

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