Monday, 18 April 2016

The Killie Pie - a tasty reminder to all businesses to protect their intellectual assets

‘Trade Mark: KILLIE PIE; Status: Opposed’. 

So reads the UK Intellectual Property Office Case Details for trade mark UK00003139173, otherwise known as ‘KILLIE PIE’ (Classes 29, 30, 35 and 43). 

The award winning pie (back to back titles, no less), is an infamous pie sold at Kilmarnock FC’s home ground, Rugby Park. Having gained favour among Scottish football fans, known discerning connoisseurs, the pie has become a household name. The question is: whose name? 

Though more often an accompaniment to reading the papers, the Killie Pie is now leading the headlines, having become the subject of a trade mark bun fight between bakers, Brownings the Bakers Limited (Brownings), and the company running Kilmarnock football club, Kilmarnock Football Club Limited (KFCL).

Brownings, who have been contracted by KFCL to supply match day catering at Rugby Park since 2003, sought on 04 December 2015 to file for the trade mark ‘KILLIE PIE’ ( ). In so doing, however, they have enraged KFCL, who are claiming that their registered mark of ‘KILLIE’ already covers baking ( ). Further, KFCL claim that Brownings’ use of the name ‘Killie Pie’ had only ever been allowed by virtue of a royalty free licence to use the mark. Following the furore, KFCL have declared a termination of contractual arrangements with Brownings.

For a season in which the baking has probably been the only highlight for the Killie boys- more panettone than Luca Toni if you will- the fuss must come as an unwelcome distraction to the relegation battle.  

Whatever the outcome, the analysis will conclude that all businesses need to be aware of their intellectual property assets and take proper action to put in place the necessary contractual provisions with their suppliers- however long they may have worked together.

For the Franco Baresi of intellectual asset defence, contact Brymer Legal.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Appropriation and the art of copyright

Appropriation and the art of copyright – Richard Prince

In an interesting intellectual property development from the US, controversial artist Richard Prince looks to be further attempting to challenge the boundaries of what is to be considered ‘fair use’ in his appropriating of other artists’ original work.

For those who don’t know their John Ash from their Matisse El Beau [Rivage], Prince’s work involves taking and modifying (or appropriating) pieces by other artists and photographers. Most recently (there have been others), he has angered one photographer by exhibiting a cropped version of their photograph ‘Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, Jamaica’- but with added Instagram comments underneath- as his own. The original photographer, Donald Graham, filed a complaint for copyright infringement.

Prince, for his part, is seeking to argue (as he has done successfully before) that the “transformative” nature of his work means that it is excepted from infringement, falling under the penumbra of protection afforded by US ‘fair use’. Further, Prince maintains that his actions do not impact on Graham being able to market Graham’s work – an element that will be considered in ‘fair use’- and that by pursuing him, Graham is asking the courts to consider something on which they have previously adjudicated on.

Much like the attraction, the result remains to be seen.