Magazine article Marketing

Act Safeguards Ads' Properties

Magazine article Marketing

Act Safeguards Ads' Properties

Article excerpt

The Andrex Puppy becomes a protected species at the end of this month when the Trade Marks Act 1994 comes into force.

Although the main focus of the act is design, it also has important implications for advertisers and their agencies.

For the first time advertisers will be able to protect music, sounds, colours, slogans and gestures in their ads. Even movements such as the lolloping of the Andrex Puppy will be given legal protection from imitators, said lawyers.

"The Act applies to any sign capable of being represented graphically," explained Andrew Millmore, partner specialising in intellectual property litigation at solicitors Macfarlanes.

"It gives you a statutory monopoly over aspects of your advertising. But they must be distinctive or new and be able to show that there is an association with the product in the public's mind," he added.

So an advertiser will now be able to register a piece of music that is out of copyright as long as it can prove an association with the product.

Paradoxically, the Act will also allow advertisers to name their competitors for the first time in UK comparative advertising. So Unilever will be able to claim that "Peril washes whiter than Ariel" -- as long as it is true. …

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