The intellectual property (IP) associated with a business name or system can be one of its most valuable assets – but only if it is properly protected. Any business that wishes to establish a national or international identity should take steps to protect the use of its name, logo or other IP, such as patent rights, formulae/processes, designs, trademarks, franchises, licence agreements, “know-how” and copyrights. The introduction of economic substance legislation has heightened the requirement to seek specialist advice before establishing a structure holding intellectual property rights.
Guernsey launched the world’s first image rights legislation and image rights register in late 2012 and remains the only the jurisdiction to do so. The law has opened up a new chapter in asset protection and exploitation management and has seen a steady stream of registrations with the island’s Intellectual Property Office.
Traditionally, the main way to protect the intellectual property in a personality has been through trademark rights. While there are other related IP rights that come into play, such as copyright and design rights, trademarks are the most relevant. However, they only go so far in protecting the rights of the modern celebrity and sports star, whose interests are wider ranging than ever before. Guernsey’s image rights legislation addresses the needs of the modern marketplace by allowing a personality to formally register not only images but also other characteristics of themselves.
The rationale is that individuals should have control over their image and how it is used, but they should also have the capacity to earn a livelihood from that image. Guernsey offers an environment with the financial infrastructure and expertise necessary where this can become a reality. Sovereign has been assisting clients to protect valuable intellectual property rights for over 20 years and can assist with the registration of image rights on the Guernsey Registry.