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Design protection in the digital world - Nikki Barton, London Design Festival 2016

17 February 2017

Nikki Barton, head of design and user experience at Autotrader, chats about her experience of IP in the digital environment. Having previously worked at Nokia and Microsoft, Nikki discusses the corporate approach to design protection, collaborating with IP specialists to allow a brand to innovate and evolve.

This video is also available as a podcast.


Dan Smith: Hi I am Dan Smith, a Director in the Intellectual Property (IP) Team at Gowling WLG, and today I am joined by Nikki Barton, Head of Design and User Experience at Auto Trader and formerly part of the design leadership teams at Microsoft and Nokia.

So Nikki, how important is IP protection in the digital world? How does it compare to traditional product design?

Nikki Barton: Well as the world becomes more digital obviously a company's assets are going to become more digital and it is really important for designers to protect the ideas that they have on the digital side as well as the physical side.

Dan: Have you got an example of that when you have seen the value of IP in your career?

Nikki: Yes, when we were designing the Lumia camera, when I worked at Nokia. Nokia was very well known for the hardware of the camera, and we were asked to come up with a design for the digital side. The work that was going on was under a lot of pressure for timescales etc. so we had to very quickly come up with some ideas and it was not really working so we stopped, kind of re-grouped, had a think more creatively and came up with a really great idea for the camera design which the team were really happy with which we protected. You were able to control the details of the camera and the settings of the camera very easily with a simple swipe of the thumb and that worked really well. It won a lot of awards, it was very well liked by people and we protected that with some IP and that protected it being copied by others.

Dan: OK and what advice would you give to designers starting out about intellectual property?

Nikki: I think it is really important that designers do not design to get IP. I think it is important that they design creatively for the idea and the IP then follows or becomes part of that, but do not design to get IP.

Dan: Thank you Nikki. That has been really valuable advice. Thank you.

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