An informal history of Icondia – so far

As so often happens, the idea for Icondia was born out of too many cups of coffee and long discussions between friends. Gerry & Keith had been in business together for many years, providing private wealth management services, and were considering the bigger issues of life, the universe and everything.[1] These modest questions, (coupled with another good read ‘REAMDE’), prompted the acknowledgment that tomorrow’s technology has a habit of sneaking up almost unnoticed and that the virtual world is already a bigger part of our daily lives than most people would care to admit. We wondered what laws there were governing this and couldn’t think of any.

A bit of searching on the internet brought Angela Adrian into the picture. Angela is was an academic lawyer who specialises in intellectual property in virtual worlds. We wanted to talk to her about avatars and she’d written the definitive book on the subject[3] Despite a minor misunderstanding regarding location (i.e. instead of ‘close by’ read ‘the other side of the world’) and an unwarranted suspicion that we were merely a bunch of cranks wishing to debate the finer points of World of Warcraft®, she eventually relented and jumped on a plane to meet with us. That ultimately led to the infamous question of whether avatars can have souls – and that brought us back to the Guernsey Image Rights Ordinance (‘IRO’).

The IRO is an extraordinary piece of legislation, permitting as it does, fictional personalities (and others) to be registered as intellectual property. We realised this was potentially a useful tool to help protect the individual and corporate digital personalities increasingly coming to the fore. We thought some more and realised that nobody provided an all-inclusive, single-stop service for registering personality and all the ancillary requirements that brings – and that, more than anything else, became the founding premise of Icondia.

Having had such a fine idea, we thought we ought to raise some capital. That process brought Tania Shires (also a qualified intellectual property lawyer) and Peter Mills (our finance director) into the equation. We thought we had a pretty good team until someone pointed out that none of us knew anything much about marketing, so we went looking for a marketeer with international experience and scope. Fortunately, Adrian Shaw recognized the potential in Icondia and has been responsible for much of the brand image you see before you. We don’t all work in the same office – some of us are on different continents, but we believe we have a common vision and a service with global application. Image these days is pretty universal.

March 2014.

Icondia, the Image Rights Registration specialist, is delighted to announce that it has just submitted an application for registration of the Image Rights for Guernsey Football Club (“GFC”) as a corporate personality.

Adrian likes working with Icondia so much he’s decided to join the board 🙂 Much has been written by others regarding the benefit of working with people you like and trust. It must be true – we’re delighted to strengthen our board by the appointment of Adrian in March 2015. Adrian’s remit to develop our own brand and plan our marketing remain unchanged, but he now becomes part of the team at the most fundamental level. Here’s to the future.

Icondia is pleased to confirm the registration of Wildlife Personalities Limited with effect from 28 October 2014 as a registered personality on the Guernsey Image Rights Register.  David Slater is famous for his monkey selfie.

In December, Icondia gave a presentation at the Wyscout football symposium concerning the significance of creating actual property rights by way of registered personality. Registration of Personality creates property rights; unlike ‘goodwill’ which is the most ephemeral of assets.

March 2015

Tania’s legal skills have been much in demand elsewhere over the last year to the point that she no longer feels able to remain a part of the Icondia team and cope with the other work expected of her. Sadly we say “goodbye” to her (or is that “so long, and thanks for all the fish” [1]), and “thank you for all of your hard work, and good luck for the future”. You will be missed.

The Icondia team headed to Las Vegas for the Licensing Expo 2015 sponsored by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association.

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.

Icondia were one of several speakers at a recent seminar organized by the International AssoicationAssociation 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.

Is this the final configuration of Icondia? – almost certainly not. We’ve evolving and changing: the story is still unfolding. Watch this space!

[1] Douglas Adams has much to answer for.