December | 2016 | Safeguard IP

Archive for : December, 2016

Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know?

Well, yes. Copyright Law would be a good start.

When Duran Duran, everyone’s favourite 80s band (except of course if you were a fan of Kajagoogoo) first started out they were put under a great deal of pressure to sign up with a record label. As seemed the norm back then, not much consideration was given to the terms of the deal and the band promptly signed away the rights to all their songs for a very long time. It is clear that they either did not think the value of their copyright would ever amount to much or they were too drunk to care. Either way it was a poor decision with the band going on to sell over 100 million records.

The one chink of light was a little known US statute that allows copyright to revert to the original owner after 35 years, regardless of any contractual term to the contrary. In 2014, 35 years after the deal was signed,  Duran Duran served notice on the copyright holders, a record company called Gloucester Place Music, confirming that copyright in the songs was reverting back to them. Gloucester Place objected and claimed the notification amounted to a breach of the contract.

Unable to resolve the dispute, the parties came before the English Courts in November and the outcome was not a good one for the band. In a decision that shocked most observers, the judge found that the terms of the UK contract trumped the US statute and ordered that the copyright stay with Gloucester Place.

When analysing this decision it is clear the band lost because their lawyers failed to submit key evidence on the US statute and how it applied to the case. They assumed the point was-self evident to the judge when it clearly was not.  This was a fatal error. There is now an appeal pending but it would not be surprising if Duran Duran found a new set of lawyers to handle the case!

The moral of the story is clear, getting good IP advice at the beginning of a negotiation is as crucial as it is when deals go bad!

 

Safeguard iP- Proud Partners of the IP100 Club

We are delighted to announce our partnership with the IP100 Club, an innovative idea from the guys at Metis and Partners in Scotland. Like us they understand the value of IP and the importance of it being captured and exploited.  They therefore set about doing what no-one has done before and create a league table of the most innovative companies in the UK.

All businesses that own IP can apply to enter the league and Metis and Partners will assess the IP against a set of criteria and award it points. If sufficient points are awarded that business enters the league. The rewards are two-fold. Firstly, it showcases the IP and puts it in the shop window for investors and potential purchasers to see. Secondly, it allows entry into the IP100 Club which provides a great networking opportunity for all involved.

We think this is a fantastic initiative which encourages businesses of all sizes to think about what makes them unique. IP plays a crucial role in protecting competitive advantage, especially overseas, and those companies in the league can inspire others to think about what makes them great and exploit it to their maximum advantage.

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more.