Law Society of Scotland World IP Day Conference 2012

This year’s Law Society of Scotland World IP Day Conference was held at the Faculty of Advocates on 27 April 2012. The conference boasted two top notch speakers Pete Wishart MP and Aileen Alexander who will be active players in the field of IP over the next few years.

Mr Wishart is the MP for Perthand North Perthshire (and fomer member of Scottish band Runrig!).  He spoke about the importance of creative industries in Scotlandand the UK and the value that they bring to the economy.  He stressed the importance of adequate robust legal protection for the creative industries to ensure new content continues to be generated. He spoke in support of the Hargreaves Report (Digital Opportunity – A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth), which is aimed at modernising the UK’s IP laws to stimulate innovation and to allow it to be adequately protected and rewarded in the digital age.  One of the main themes of Mr Wishart’s talk was the creation and development of the Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE).  The DCE was propsed by Hargreaves to offer a quick and efficient licensing network of copyright works which had ‘opted in’ to the scheme. It would for example, allow someone wishing to use a piece of music in a film to quickly and efficiently find out who the owner is and the terms/cost on which they can use the track. Mr Wishart could provide an inside track view and advised that Richard Hooper will report on his recommendations to introduce the DCE in the summer of this year with a view to having the DCE up and running within the year.  Given the various legal challenges which the Digital Economy Act and previous Intellectual Property Reviews like the Gowers Review have faced, the progress and possible enactment of such a key plank of the Hargreaves’ report will be very interesting and could create a world first DCE.

The second speaker Aileen Alexander, is a senior legal manager of Glasgow 2014 Limited, the Organising Committee of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. She provided an interesting insight into the variety of steps which have been and will be taken to protect the intellectual property associated with the Commonwealth Games (a link to the act can be found here). This included the registration of the Glasgow Games’ trade marks and logos both in the UK and in other Commonwealth Countries, the measures they will take to monitor and prevent ‘ambush marketing’ (when unauthorised companies try to promote themselves at the games to the detriment of the official sponsors).

 Many thanks to the organisers of this excellent and thought provoking event!

 

Mark Cruickshank

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