Happy World Intellectual Property Day

National Media Museum, Bradford    Source Wikipedia



















Jane Lambert

Tomorrow is World Intellectual Property Day. I wish all my readers a happy World Intellectual Property Day.   Folk may think that that is an odd greeting. But is it?  When someone is ill don't you wish him a speedy recovery? What is more likely to accelerate his recovery than the medicine or medical device that may have cost millions to develop.  The fruits of that investment are protected by the patents, trade marks and other rights that prevent competitors from taking advantage of the research and development work known collectively as "intellectual property".   Intellectual property is the glue that holds investment in branding, design, technology and creative works together.  So the greeting "Happy World Intellectual Property Day" is a kind of celebration of the world's advances in science, technology, the arts and literature.

Every year there is a different theme is chosen for World Intellectual Property Day.  This year it is "Movies – A Global Passion".  Film is an area in which we have specialist expertise.   My colleague Thomas Dillon was Assistant General Counsel and Vice President of the Motion Picture Association of America. He is now a member of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center‘s List of Mediators and Arbitrators and the WIPO Film and Media Panel of Neutrals.

Film making in the UK began in Holmfirth, the small Pennine town near Hudderfield where I happen to live. The company that produced those early films was Bamforth & Co. Ltd. whose films are preserved in the Yorkshire Film Archive.  Here are:

A man in a bearskin was the sort of thing I was expecting in Christopher Wheeldon's Winter Tale on 12 April 2014 but sadly did not get (see "Royal Ballet 'The Winter's Tale'" 14 Apr 2014 Terpsichore). The history of British cinema and TV is preserved wonderfully by the National Media Museum in Bradford (a picture of which appears above).

Films are protected by an array of intellectual property rights at all stages of their development. First, the outline of the plot is likely to be an original, literary work that is protected by copyright. The screenplay is also protected  by copyright as a dramatic work. Similarly, musical copyright is likely to subsist in the score for the soundtrack.  Rights in performances are likely to subsist in each of the actor's performances.  Film copyright is likely to subsist in the film itself including the soundtrack. When the film is released the studio will almost register trade marks in each of the countries where the film is to be distributed.  

The relevant copyright law for the UK is to be found in Part I of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and rights in performances in Part II.  Corresponding international agreements are arts 9 and 14 of the Agreement of Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the Berne and Rome Conventions, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Further Reading
Jane Lambert "World Intellectual Property Day in the Gulf" 22 Apr 2014 
Anon "World IP Day" 25 Apr 2014 IPO

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