Home > BCS, Copyright, Event, Internet Business, Privacy, Seminar, social > Citius, Altius, Fortius and the Intellectual Property Roller-coaster

Citius, Altius, Fortius and the Intellectual Property Roller-coaster

Next year’s Olympic Games mean that both the City of London and global coverage of the events will be awash with logos, slogans, brands and other sponsorship paraphernalia come summer 2012. As the competing athletes get busy completing their training, so too have a particular group of learned athletes, otherwise known as IP lawyers, kept busy by flexing their legal muscles in preparation for an epic battle. Whoever wins in the end must indeed go faster, higher and stronger in that blood sport known as IP litigation.  

I was kindly invited to a seminar on brands and Intellectual Property (IP) at Wedlake Bell, a London Law firm, which helped to bring into sharp focus the current state of the IP landscape, (i.e.: Copyright, Trademark, Designs and Patents), and their legislation or regulation in the UK and Europe. The half day seminar touched on several interesting and notable IP related developments, regulation or litigation outcomes including:

  • Freedom of Expression vs. Privacy – Discussed the tension between these two strange bedfellows, as well as highlighting the bright  line boundary of commercial or state secret infringement versus the blurred line of private information made public (i.e. intrusion of privacy). Not quite the same thing it seems!
  • Copyright Issues – Looked at the challenges facing copyright law and its modern use and interpretation such as the vexed question of just what constitutes a “substantial part” in copyright infringement. Oh, and by the way, newspaper headlines may be copyright too!
  • Social Media and the Law – this final session showed how, despite evidently wide-held belief to the contrary, the law can, and does, apply to social media users. Seven types of social media usage, and some resulting litigation, were used to illustrate how the law can impact unwary users of social media, e.g.: insults, uploading, marketing, employees, litigating, gossip and jokes. Also the memorable analogy of just how social media users are very like London cyclists, (i.e. an explosion in great numbers of modish, largely anonymous individuals who may assume the law does not apply to them), helped to bring the point home.

In conclusion, this seminar provided an excellent update on the state of play with IP and brands; litigation and legislation; as well as historical challenges and emerging trends and usage scenarios. It is the sort of useful event, and time well spent, which I would recommend to any person or organization with even the least exposure to IP, digital social media and the laws and regulations that govern their use. With that in mind, perhaps the toughest contests of the London2012 games may well be fought in courtrooms across the land. IP athletes to your starting positions.

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