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Patents, Poltergeists and Copyright Creeps

October 30, 2020, By

The spooky season is well and truly upon us (as if we hadn’t had enough to deal with this year already). In this article, we discuss some common intellectual property issues that a designer preparing for Halloween might face, late in the woods at night…….

Any designer preparing to create Halloween themed goods (or otherwise) should ensure to keep careful records of each iteration of their design in order to be able to benefit from copyright. The good news is that copyright is free but you do need to be able to evidence a chain of ownership. Ideally this would involve a chain of drafts tracking the work from inception to completion.

As with any business, you should protect any flagship symbol which you want to be associated with your brand. This might be a particularly stylised pumpkin logo, or a word mark such as “CACKLES ‘N CAULDRONS” (all rights reserved). Failure to do so might lead to a very spooky cease and desist letter being received from someone who got there first!  

Perhaps you have invented a particularly stylish witch’s hat which you would like to protect. This would be done by way of applying for a registered design which protects the shape or appearance of a product. One thing to note on this front is that, in order to register a design, it must be ‘novel’, meaning that an identical design must not have been previously disclosed to the public.

You might also have invented a particularly tasty treat or brew that you wish to protect. Unfortunately, recipes per se are not protectable. The only way to keep these safe are either to lock them away physically or to ensure that they are only ever disclosed to other parties under an obligation of confidence, typically by way of a non-disclosure agreement or ‘NDA’.

Briffa comment

Here at Briffa, the team benefits from over 25 years’ experience in tackling all sorts of intellectual property poltergeists and gremlins. If you need any further information in this regard please do feel free to get in touch with us via [email protected].

Written by Tom Synott, Associate

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