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IP & Valentine's Day

14 February 2017 | Posted in News

It’s that time of year again when couples around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day by exchanging romantic goodies including gifts, flowers, cards and chocolates, and every year I spend what seems like weeks searching for the perfect card and gift to present to my loved one. It is estimated that Britons spend a whopping £978m annually on their wives, husbands - and prospective partners - on Valentine's Day. 
 
Over the years, the UK Intellectual Property Office has granted patents, trademarks and designs to different confectionary, floral, and jewellery companies around the world for their products associated with the romantic day.
 
The GCA (Greeting Card Association) Market Report shows that in 2015, the UK public spent more on greeting cards than ever before – taking the market value up to a value of £1.7 billion. Bearing this in mind, I was left wondering if I were to create my own greetings card, how would I protect my design and stop copycats from stealing my idea. It is however, possible to register the look of a product that you’ve designed to prevent this from happening. 
 
The look of your design includes the appearance, physical shape, configuration and decoration. This gives you the right to prevent others from using it for up to 25 years, but you have to renew your registered design every 5 years.
 
As well as this, I was left wondering if I were to create my very own poem or greetings message inside the card, could someone else use it? How could I prove that the poem was my creation? This led me to study copyright and how copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission. 
 
You get copyright protection automatically and you don’t have to apply or pay a fee. There isn’t a register of copyright works in the UK but you will automatically get copyright protection when you create original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including illustration and photography. All I need to do is mark my work with the copyright symbol (©), my name and the year of creation. 
 
Even our favourite sweets are protected by IP. Take Love Hearts for example; not only have Swizzels Matlow Limited registered the phrase ‘Love Hearts’ as a trade mark since 1995, they’ve also registered the actual shape of the sweet. The trademark consists of a circular compressed tablet, 19mm in diameter and 4.76mm in depth, bearing a raised heart outline on both flat surfaces and containing wording of a non-trademark nature within the heart outline on one side, meaning the Love Hearts sweets are unique. A registered trade mark lasts for 10 years.
 
So whether you’re writing love poems or creating your own greeting card this Valentine’s Day, make sure you’re devoted to understanding intellectual property (IP). Our resources on the Cracking Ideas website will ensure that you and your students get the knowledge you need and guide you to discover the right protection your creations deserve! 
 
Happy Valentine’s Day!
 
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