Guernsey: Guernsey's Image Rights Legislation Showcased At London Seminar
Last Updated: 31 January 2013

A full house of IP, sports and entertainment lawyers, as well as agents, accountants and brand managers, have attended a presentation in London showcasing the benefits of Guernsey's unique image rights legislation.

Nearly 200 delegates heard how the legislation - the first of its kind in the world - can be used to manage and protect image and brand.

The event was introduced by Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry internationally.

"The event was a great success and we were incredibly pleased with the turnout, which was a clear demonstration of the significant interest that has been shown regarding our ground-breaking new legislation," said Miss Le Poidevin.

"It was great to be addressing what was in part a new audience, as many of the delegates were IP specialists so the event was also a chance to showcase Guernsey itself and the breadth of services we are able to provide as an international finance centre. The presentations and panel sessions outlined the framework of the legislation and how image rights are likely to be used both in terms of the management of those rights and the protection that image rights will provide for corporates and individuals."

Panellists for the event were Dominic Crossley of Collyer Bristow, Mark Engelman from Hardwicke and David Evans of Collas Crill IP. Advocate Elaine Gray of Carey Olsen (pictured left) provided an overview of the legislation, while John Ogier from the Bailiwick of Guernsey Intellectual Property Office spoke on the background leading up to the launch of the image rights register.

Miss Le Poidevin said: "Our speakers for the event covered subjects such as infringement, enforcement and reputation management. From talking to delegates, my feeling is that the legislation was very well received and many I spoke to had already been talking to their clients about the image rights register. As with any new concepts, several also said they would be very interested when the first successful case was brought to the Guernsey courts, as this will clearly attract more clients to register their rights."

One of those delegates in attendance was Thomas Eggar partner Andrew Nixon. He specialises in sports law and said he would be keeping a close eye on how the courts treated the legislation.

"In terms of adding to an athlete's brand and potentially enhancing the ability to protect that brand, it's very useful. The challenges will relate to the jurisdiction in which these brands are ultimately protected and how the damages might be assessed in infringement of registered image rights," said Mr Nixon. 

Pemberton Greenish partner Nicola Plant was also among the audience. She said: "I am very excited about the protection and succession opportunities that new legislation could offer in terms of private clients with potentially valuable image rights."

Advocate Gray, who also moderated the panel session as well as providing an overview of the legislation, believed the event had been a great success.

"I am absolutely delighted at the endorsement from our UK experts in relation to the benefit of registering Guernsey image rights and the scope for enforcement and recovery of damages for infringement. The response was excellent. We had clearly got a very professional audience who are managing and exploiting image rights already," said Advocate Gray.

The Guernsey Registry's Intellectual Property Office opened for image rights registrations on Monday 3 December and its register has been attracting significant interest from the UK and beyond since then. In fact, on the morning the register opened a team from Carey Olsen, acting on behalf of corporate and branding specialist Lesley Everett of Walking TALL International Ltd., made the first ever application for the registration of a personality and associated image rights. There has also been a substantial number of on-Island practitioners registering as image rights agents.

Miss Le Poidevin said: "Being able to register image rights in an environment which recognises them by statute provides greater clarity in the definition of rights and a higher degree of protection from unauthorised use by third parties than is currently on offer in any other jurisdiction."

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