While the Guernsey image rights registry is a world first, there are other methods for protecting a variety of intellectual property (IP) as explained by experts taking part in Heritage Insurance’s recent IP conference in Guernsey.
David Stanley of Stanleys Ltd. in Alderney, a chartered patent attorney, James Pearce, a former director of the European Patent Office, Erik Alsegard from CFC Underwriting in London, and John Ogier, IP Commercial Group chairman in Guernsey, spoke to an audience of on-island and off-island finance sector professionals and highlighted the variety of IP options available.
Mr Stanley, who regularly assesses the validity of patent applications, reviewed the history and criteria for both registrable and non-registrable IP rights.
“In most countries, there is no official system for registering copyright, so it is wise to keep good records of your creations. Also, with many kinds of IP, you don’t necessarily own work merely by paying for it, so be sure to cover this in agreements with suppliers” he explained.
However, patents are registrable rights that can protect novel inventions for up to 20 years and designs can be registered to protect the aesthetics of a particular design for up to 25 years.
Dr Pearce explained patents could be valuable IP rights used to protect markets for manufacturers, as property rights in licensing arrangements or to attract royalty payments.
“The number of patent filings has grown rapidly and, together with other IP rights, patents now contribute greatly to the market value of many companies,” he said.
The value of copyright was also explored as well as the use of trademarks as a part of product branding; the infringement of either can cause reputational damage and business losses.
Mr Alsegard emphasised that it was for these reasons that a sound insurance policy was important for IP.
He laid out what insurers could do for their clients in terms of what substantiated a claim.
“Guernsey has a good awareness of the IP infrastructure and a very proactive environment. Insurance can be arranged for as little as £2,000 with the insurance sector catering for the whole spectrum of intellectual property rights,” Mr Alsegard said.
Mr Ogier focussed on the international potential of Guernsey’s IP legislation through the extension of the international IP treaties and the developing network of double taxation agreements drawing in the links with financial and legal services including IP insurance.
Attending the conference, States Deputy Kevin Stewart confirmed that the States had started to look into extending their international IP treaties meeting the high standards the global IP environment required.
Heritage Insurance director, Richard Le Tocq, said: “Heritage Insurance is pleased to play a role in assisting those with an IP need to find what they are looking for in Guernsey. Certainly in the area of insurance there are many considerations.
“Insurance is one of the primary concerns for people dealing with their own IP as there are many pitfalls which can render someone’s life work unprofitable. There needs to be sufficient protection in place,” he said.
“In particular today’s discussions have shed new light on the intentions of the States going forward which is really encouraging and certainly demonstrates Guernsey as a jurisdiction of choice when it comes to anything to do with IP.”