Marketing companies and intellectual property

I presented an introductory workshop on intellectual property with Michael Ellis of Ellis IP ( last week for the Mid & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce. We used a case study on the trials and tribulations of Cinderella starting up her own cleaning products and cleaning services company and encouraged participants to contribute their thoughts and experiences to the discussion. We had a tremendously lively morning and covered an enormous amount of material because the people who had come along were really prepared to get involved and take an active part in the workshop. It is undoubtedly the case that the more you put into an event the more you will get out of it. It is sad when people simply sit quietly in the back and take notes – or worse I suppose if they just go to sleep! Being actively involved not only increases the amount that you will remember of what is said but also means you can clarify the points that matter to your business, which in turn may raise issues that others wish to discuss. Everyone has different experiences and concerns and this broader involvement enriches the experience for everyone and certainly makes it a lot more enjoyable.

We covered the main forms of intellectual property, the sorts of activity to which each applied, the pros and cons of seeking protection and the alternatives that might be considered. The most interesting discussion however was around those areas of activity where intellectual property rights are perhaps less often discussed, elements of advertising campaigns, logo development, websites and the extent to which the creators of this type of work seek to establish their rights. With businesses facing tighter times there was a general feeling that some businesses were going back through their portfolios to look for rights to enforce which in the past they would simply have let go. This means that there is a particular need just now to ensure that your contracts are well written to cover your specific needs whether you are a purchaser of services or a creator of the material.

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