Following Thursday’s vote for the UK to leave the EU – one thing is clear right now about copyright and other IP (Intellectual Property) rights – nothing is clear. Without any further information at this stage, its certainly business as usual – but here are some things that you might like to consider in terms of protecting what rights you/your organisation own and may own in the future – so that you and/or your organisation can weather inevitably chopping waters ahead. These tips may help you reduce your business risks in the short term, and help optimise potential opportunities in spite of economic uncertainty. It will also help staff feel more safe and more settled.
- Manage your existing rights, including your copyright and trade mark portfolios
- Make sure you know what rights you own. For example, ensure that there is a process for establishing what copyright you own. Understand who registers/re-news Trade Marks and what happens when Trade Marks are due to expire (they last only 10 years but can be renewed ad infinitum) etc.
- Shore up the protection for existing Trade Marks. For example, for any Trade Marks that are just registered in the UK – it is advisable to register them sooner rather than later in the EU – to off-set any likely increases in registration fees etc over the next few years.
- Put in place a clear governance stucture, policies, procedures and tools so that everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are.
2. Protect any new rights which might arise
- Establish process and policies underpinned by business-critical drivers in association with the registration/protection of new copyright and/or Trade Marks associated with new events/services/initiatives and activities. There is no point registering new IP, if the costs out weight the benefits!
- Draft contracts which robustly protect potential and existing IP in the following areas:
- Acquiring/commissioning/procuring services and/or products
- Working in partnership with third parties
- Facilitating access to your premises (corporate hire/filming)
Licensing out use of your IP assets to others (brand licensing; image licensing; content licensing)
3. Record assets, rights and permissions
- Explore how your existing (or potential new systems) can best support the recording of your digital assets and associated rights and permissions. You still need to know what you own, what you don’t and if you don’t – how you can use them.
4. Support staff awareness and competencies
- Incorporate contract know-how into staff training so that all staff who need to need know, have received basic training in what contracts to use, when and how.
- Make your staff feel safe in the knowledge that there are policies, procedures and tools that they can use to best protect your organisations’s IP interests.
5. Keep up to date
- Watch for further information from trusted sources, like the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance and the UK’s Intellectual Property Office.
©Naomi Korn, 2016. Some Rights Reserved. This article may be reused and shared under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike Licence