Did you know JM Barrie left the rights for Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Children's hospital - Victor Caddy tells us more...

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Monday 14th Feb 2022 - News from the United Kingdom

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“Would you like an adventure now, or would like to have your tea first?”
With Pantomine season just finished, I thought it would be nice to remind ourselves of the wonder that is Peter Pan.  I don’t mean the wonder of JM Barrie’s writing, but the wonder of the legacy that it has left behind.

JM Barrie was born in Scotland, but, after graduating from Edinburgh University, he moved to London and lived for a while in Grenville Street, close to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). Several years later, when his stage play, Peter Pan, and the novel he adapted from it, had become massive successes, he made a gift of his rights (his copyright) to GOSH.  This meant that the hospital received a royalty payment in the form of percentage of the ticket price every time the play was performed, or of the book price every time the book was sold, or of revenue generated from movies, and so on.  

Most forms of intellectual property are of fixed duration (trade marks being the exception, as long as you keep paying renewal fees).  But, in the UK, (thanks to an intervention by former Prime Minister, Lord James Callaghan), the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 contains a special clause that entitles GOSH to Peter Pan royalties in perpetuity.

Appropriately enough, the provision that grants GOSH royalties will never grow up.   

At the present time, it’s reassuring to remind ourselves of heart-warming stories like this and the goodness of which humankind is capable.  

And so it is that we turn our attention to today.  Each of the properties that will be pitched today is at the start of its adventure.  Of course, they cannot all fly and remain youthful forever.  However, they all have pixie dust.  They are all protected (or protectable) by intellectual property, and this is what gives them the wings they need to take flight.  Without patents, trade marks, design registration or copyright, there is nothing to licence, and there can be no royalties.

As a company that helps companies and entrepreneurs protect their intellectual property, we are delighted to have this opportunity to play a small part in the  Pitch Smarter Conference.  As you have your tea (or coffee), please think about the adventures the properties that are being pitched today are about to begin.  Maybe you will be part of them.  If so, where will you go?

“Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning”?

For IP advice contact Victor Caddy at Wynne Jones

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