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The Royal Wedding and Intellectual Property Rights

15 May 2018

From IPKat:

This coming Saturday – 19th May – the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle takes place at St George’s Chapel, in Windsor. In the run up to the royal wedding, there’s really only one question on all our minds of course, what about the Royal IP?! After the Lord Chamberlain’s Office announced that the rules of use have been “temporarily relaxed”, Dr Janice Denoncourt (Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Law School) kindly provides us with the full details:

Global super brand Queen Elizabeth II and members of her family are the subject of worldwide fascination.  The forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle to be celebrated on 29 May puts intellectual property (IP), branding and image rights in the spotlight.  Love them or loathe them, the British Royal Family is a unique selling point of the UK.  Business analysts predict a worldwide TV audience of 1 billion, while royalty devotees will inject millions of pounds into the U.K.’s economy. The wedding of Prince Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, presents an array of commercial opportunities in terms of souvenirs, memorabilia, marketing and advertising.  It’s not surprising that many businesses and organisations will want to associate their goods and services with the happy historic event for commercial purposes in the UK and beyond.

However, like other significant events such as the Invictus Games, Royal Ascot and Wimbledon, special legal rules regarding the use of IP and image rights apply. In other words, super brand management is on the agenda. The Lord Chamberlain, the Earl Peel, is the most senior officer of the Royal Household.  His office produces definitive guidelines on the use of the Royal Arms, Names, Images, Royal Devices, Emblems and Titles and of photographs, portraits, engravings, effigies and busts of The Queen and Members of the Royal Family. Normally, using Royal names or Royal residences on products is unlawful if the use of the name suggests the goods have some connection with or are supplied to a Member of the Royal Family. These rules are only relaxed on occasional events of national importance. Although established souvenir firms will have ‘Operation Royal Wedding 2018’ underway, smaller, less IP-aware businesses will be relieved to learn that the Royal Wedding is indeed nationally important. They can relax, but must remain on ‘best commercial behaviour’ so to speak.

The Lord Chamberlain’s Office, announced that:

“In line with previous practice for Royal weddings, Prince Harry has been pleased to approve that the rules governing the commercial use of Royal Photographs and Insignia may be temporarily relaxed to allow their use on souvenirs commemorating the Engagement and Marriage of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle.” 

. . . .

Beware Royal IP Etiquette!
It is not quite a free for all. To qualify, souvenirs must be in ‘good taste’; free from any form of advertisement; and carry no implication of Royal custom or approval – otherwise such use might infringe Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s IP and image rights. There are specific restrictions on certain types of souvenir[s].

. . . .

Kensington Palace owns the copyright in the official engagement photographs. Alexi Lubomirski, the same man who shot their engagement, has been appointed the official Royal Wedding photographer. Permission to use Engagement and Royal Wedding images must be cleared by the Royal Household before use and will be authorised only for news editorial purposes and NOT for use on souvenirs, or memorabilia and the like.

Link to the rest at IPKat

Copyright/Intellectual Property, Non-US

8 Comments to “The Royal Wedding and Intellectual Property Rights”

  1. My only question about the royal rip off is how do I keep from being inundated by the barrage of toadying. The royal family are picking up only the core costs such as flowers. Estimates for costs of policing alone anything from £6.3million to £30million.

    • Leave the TV off, just like just before our last big election …

      • Unfortunately it is all over print media as well.

        • Also easily ignored if you wish to. 😉

          In the middle of writing a tall tale many things can heard/seen yet not noticed/recorded, much as you would most ads you you see every da – Woow! HEB has crab legs for sale this week! Later!

    • I’m assuming the vendors and media will make nice bucks off this. All the commemorative stuff that will be snapped up, magazines and DVDs sold, etc. The UK economy will likely make more than 30 million off the commerce made off this wedding. Of course, if regular folks have to pay for security for their events–such as paying for police escort during a funeral–then the royal family should pay for the extra policing for their wedding. They’re billionaires. They can afford it.

  2. Yes, vendors will make money but that does not go into the tax coffers to pick up the costs which the people of the UK will pay – while education and the NHS is being starved of cash. It is highly unlikely actually that it will increase tourism. Any tourists coming would have come anyway. By far most spectators will not be tourists. It is like the myth that tourists go to Buckingham Palace because a queen still lives there. In fact more tourists go to Versailles, which has long since been sans monarch.

    However, we are in agreement on who should pay for security.

  3. Dr Janice Denoncourt (Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Law School) says the wedding is on 29 May, and that Harry is fifth in line to the throne.

    1. Charles
    2. William
    3. George
    4. Charlotte
    5. Louis
    6. Harry

    Old interview, or bad fact-checking on the part of the IPK?

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