TRADE MARK, IMAGE RIGHTS
Jonny Wilkinson, hero of England’s triumph in the 2004 Rugby World Cup, is considering using trade mark law or patent law to protect his distinctive ‘cradle’ ritual which he uses to focus his mind before taking penalty or conversion kicks in the game.
The Scottish football team, Celtic FC, has succeeded in registering still images (a graphic representation) of their distinctive pre-match on field ‘huddles’ as a trademark, and a number of sports stars have had their photographic images registered as trademarks. But registration of the actual movement sequence itself would be a new departure in UK trademark law.
Movement marks themselves are not unknown and a number of companies have registered moving images but these have been in a graphic form (for example, a rotating company logo). At the most basic level, for trade mark registration to succeed the ‘movement mark’ would have to be capable of being represented graphically and of distinguishing the goods of one person from that of another.
However, it is possible that a complicated and original sequence of moves could have protection in copyright law just as a choreographed sequence of steps would be – as a dramatic copyright. Alternatively, it has been suggested that a sequence of movements which are new, non-obvious and invented and which have a practical end result with a commercial use could be protected by way of a patent.