Harry and Megan…an unhappy IP ending?

 In news

It’s all about the brand…
The curious thing about intellectual property rights is you don’t think they apply to you until…er…they do.

You might not believe you have, or are, a brand. Even if you do, you might not see that brand as a business, let alone a business worth protecting with formal and legal intellectual property instruments.

And what a brand it is
In Harry and Megan’s case the operative brand is “Sussex Royal” no less. Quite possibly the most critical aspect of delivering the financial independence they crave, is protecting their brand to allow lawful exploitation of it for money. Think Brand Beckham and you get the idea.

Cover the bases
Brand protection requires a brand. No problem there for the Royal couple. You must then enter the realms of speculation – what might that brand deliver in the future, for cash, and cover the options. It appears from reports in the press that, last summer, out of a possible 45 trademark categories Harry and Megan only sought IPR protection in respect of six and those are only protected in the UK. No European or Canadian protection was sought. Failing to register their brand outside of the UK inevitably leads to only one outcome. Enter the opportunists.

Brand squatters
It appears an attempt to squat the couple’s brand was made last week by an applicant based in Italy filing in German with the EU authorities (the European Union Intellectual Property Office or EUIPO in short). Six categories of goods and services were listed which included toiletries, toys and beer.

A royal brand fight?
Should this not be an attempt to protect the Sussex Royal brand (it probably isn’t) and is an opportunist brand squatter, the couple will have three months to raise objections to the registrations. Arguably not a very dignified process for a royal couple to engage in when trying to protect a European brand they have yet to exploit, especially when they don’t know if the Queen will permit them to use ‘royal’ in their logo. It’s all a bit of a mess.

In the world of IP brand protection, foresight is a wonderful thing.

Murray Fairclough
Development Underwriter
OPUS Underwriting Limited 
+44 (0) 203 920 9985

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