Commentary

Guess why Gucci’s® Trademarks failed: How Image Rights provide brand protection.

By Dr Angela Adrian

Strategic brand management is at the core of any global company’s success. Sound traditional strategy advocates that companies protect their patents and trademark rights early and proactively. However, this advice is dated and static. A new dynamic and flexible intellectual property right has arrived: image rights. Image rights encompass the commercial exploitation of a brand’s identity and associated images linked to that brand. They are related to the distinctive expressions, characteristics or attributes of, or associated with, a brand’s personality. They can grow and develop in tandem with your brand. Just as you do not have to register your child’s birth and existence each year, nor do you have to register your brand’s growth and changing personality. You just add an imag... Read More

Personality Rights: a Korean perspective

By Keith Laker

Publicity rights have been at the centre of controversy in Korea on numerous occasions.  Many celebrities have claimed that their rights have been violated,  but so far none have been successful in bringing a court action against the alleged infringers.   This issue was considered in an edition of the Korean radio station eFM's 'Primetime' program,  broadcast on 25 March 2015.   Icondia was invited to take part as a leading authority on registered image rights.  Dr Angela Adrian was questioned about the nature of registered image rights,  who could register and what the process involved.   You can listen to the entire program below.  The interview with Angela Adrian starts at 06:00 minutes into the program. For more information about registered image rights,  contact enquirie... Read More

Brand Protection: The Law of Luxury Goods

By Adrian Shaw

Icondia were one of several speakers at a recent seminar organized by the International Assoication of Lawyers for the Creative Industries (‘IALCI’).   This seminar was one of a series concerning the protection of the intellectual property belonging to brands within the fashion and luxury goods industries, featuring actual and hypothetical situations faced by high profile manufacturers and individuals. Speakers included Annabelle Gauberti of law firm Crefovi, Michael Skrein on the Rihanna v Topshop dispute, Jane Lambert of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, Stuart Durham of Netnames, together with others, including Icondia’s Keith Laker on the subject of using registered image rights as an additional tool for the purpose of brand protection. In particular Laker drew a comparison with how... Read More

Image Rights: Adding value to Goodwill.

By Keith Laker

Image Rights: Adding value to Goodwill. In December last year, Icondia gave a presentation at the Wyscout football symposium concerning the significance of creating actual property rights by way of registered personality. All too often people dismiss the concept of the Guernsey Image Rights Ordinance as an irrelevance in the wider commercial world where image rights have long been accommodated by way of contracted rights between parties. They miss the point entirely – and it’s an important point. Registration of Personality creates property rights. Unlike ‘goodwill’, which is the most ephemeral of assets, the creation of actual property rights means that transferring this personal property becomes easy. As things currently stand, it is difficult to transfer personal goodwill... Read More

Rihanna Re-cap: Why image rights registration may be in order

By Dr Angela Adrian

The UK Court of Appeals has confirmed what everyone already knew: ‘She is a style icon.’ Rihanna won the appeal made by TopShop, who was held to be ‘passing off’ Rihanna’s image as endorsing their own product. It is important to realize that English law has never recognized ‘image rights’. These decisions were based on the concept that Rihanna’s image is a business asset; and she lost money on that asset because of Topshop’s t-shirt. The trial court relied upon very particular facts and established a general principle that goes against any celebrities who might have hoped to see the beginnings of a general image right. The Appeals Court agreed with the factual findings that Rihanna’s identity has value and with the legal principle that there is no distinct ‘image r... Read More

How to turn 15 minutes of fame into your destiny. Register it!

By Dr Angela Adrian

Andy Warhol (1968) is famously quoted as saying: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Everyone has the possibility of becoming a celebrated personality. When you become a celebrity; you become a commodity. The commoditization of image has real value, both directly - for the individual concerned - and indirectly, in terms of generating income for firms specializing in hosting social media (Adrian, 2013) What about all of the people who do not deem themselves to be celebrity, yet share their life publicly on the internet? “Most users of popular photo-sharing sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest know that anyone can view their vacation pictures if shared publicly. But they may be surprised to learn that a new crop of digital marketing companies are sear... Read More

The Modern Icons of Russia: How Image Rights can protect them.

By Angela Adrian and Keith Laker

There are few nations for whom the cult of personality matters more than Russia. A nation, shaped profoundly by powerful leaders across the ages, instinctively recognizes the cultural and political importance of strong images. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the modern icons of Russia are worth millions of rubles. Copyright has been the traditional tool to protect the value inherent within an image – but the digital age has brought new challenges in the way that images are used. One jurisdiction has met this challenge – Guernsey. It has an established track record of introducing innovative, successful legislation. The Image Rights Ordinance (IRO) continues this by being at the forefront of modern intellectual property practice. The IRO allows people to take control of n... Read More

Hatsune Miku – The Future of Personality

By Keith Laker

Mention Hatsune Miku to most Europeans and you’ll probably receive a blank stare. I admit it – until not so long ago I was one of them. Mention Hatsune Miku in her home country of Japan however, and it will be difficult to find someone who hasn’t heard of her. So - who is she and why does she matter? First and foremost let’s define exactly what ‘she’ is. With a cursory search, you’d probably come to the conclusion that she’s an anime character popular amongst her target market of Japanese teenagers. You might even pick up on the fact that she’s also an avatar. Look a little deeper though, and the history is more interesting. The genesis of Hatsune Miku lies in her voice, or more specifically the way it is created. In 2000 Yamaha backed the development of what became... Read More

The Hidden value of Personal Image

By Keith Laker

Every now and then an article comes along that neatly illustrates what one has long suspected. Such is the case with an article by Douglas Macmillan and Elizabeth Dwoskin that appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. It’s a very nice demonstration of just how intensively our personal data is being mined and our images appropriated for commercial gain without our knowledge. Data mining is nothing new, but image recognition software is increasingly able to scan online personal photographs for items as specific as brand logos, fashion accessories, devices and even emotions conveyed on the faces of those photographed. The sheer scale is awesome: for example Instagram reportedly has more than 20 billion images shared with 60 million being added daily. People consistently fail... Read More

Monkey See – Monkey Do. Protecting A Photographer’s Serendipitous Fixation

By Dr Angela Adrian

Introduction A ‘eureka’ moment is the moment of sudden unexpected discovery. Consider Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and how he dropped his mobile phone causing a ‘eureka’ moment which he, in turn, patented in the form of mini airbags that deploy if you drop your mobile phone. The similar concept of serendipity is used in a variety of knowledge formation processes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, serendipity is the manifestation and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. The DC circuit court, in California Research Corp. v. Ladd, 356 F.2d 813 (1966), held that “serendipity is consistent with patentability.” Likewise, serendipity is consistent with copyright goals of fixation in relation to authorship. Consider the case of David Slater and his mac... Read More