I can't fathom why asparagus has a whole month dedicated to it whereas real bread (as opposed to 'fake bread?), sandwiches, wine, tomatoes and doughnuts only get a week, but it certainly seems to be big business to promote your product by means of a national, or even international celebration. In January the Americans were treated to 'Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day' (aka 'BWAD'), 'National Popcorn Day' and 'National Dress Your Pet Up Day'. 24th January 2014 was 'Global Belly Laugh Day'.You really couldn't make this stuff up. So what's my point and why am I blogging about it?
Having just discovered this week that:
- Led Zeppelin are about to be embroiled in a legal dispute over the copyright to 'Stairway to Heaven', which apparently earned the band £334m (as at 2008);
- Google and Apple seem to have settled a long-running and multi-faceted patent dispute (influenced no doubt by the eye-watering $119.6m damages that Samsung was ordered to pay Apple a few weeks ago); and
- the Panini company (of football sticker fame) turns over €620 million a year,
it seems to me that intellectual property is a BIG earner and deserves its own international month, if not a whole year. There does seem to have been an International IP Week last December but it was promoted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to advertise the advantages of Hong Kong as the regional IP business hub. There's nothing wrong with that, but what's needed is a general awareness-raising of the value of IP in business, particularly nowadays, and a greater understanding of what can be done to protect it as a business asset. Perhaps the big push on IP could run in parallel with an international 'Hug-a-Lawyer' year/decade where members of the business community can lavish thanks and praise on members of the legal profession who've helped them to protect their IP. Just a thought.
To the extent that there's a serious bit in this blog, it really is worth looking at whether you can do anything to protect your IP portfolio. Even if you don't see it as a 'portfolio', the chances are you have a website, copyright in your marketing literature, a trade mark (registered or unregistered) and possibly designs that could be registered or even patented. It's well known that there's no formal IP protection for the Coca Cola recipe and that it's simply a trade secret, but that's absolutely fine: with annual revenues last year of almost $50 billion, it clearly works for Coca Cola.
If you'd like a word about protecting your intangible assets please call me or my colleague, Peter Galloway on the details below.
As for the really serious bit in this blog, I understand that it's US Bacon Day on 30 August this year. Bring it on (with brown sauce).