Don’t mess with the mouse
This is not some throwback to the 1950s, where I’m envisaging a woman standing on a chair, shrieking hysterically whilst waving a broom at a small mouse as it runs around the house, reminiscent of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. This phrase was used often in the first law firm I worked at, and the perceived threat was from a rodent far more dangerous than any I’d met before or since, and I’ve met plenty of rats in my time!
I started my career in entertainment law. Long before the days of websites and on line advertising, I was one of the few of my peers that had regular dealings with IP issues, when protection of brand and logo was only really considered essential by those with very recognisable names and products not to mention very deep pockets. It was here that I first discovered how aggressively the likes of Disney protected their cartoon images, and with good cause, which is where the saying came from. Disney and others spent a huge amount of time and money developing their products, so why would you let anyone use them without permission (ie without paying royalties) and in a way that might damage your reputation. If you were lucky enough to obtain a licence to use a Disney character on your products, the deal came with a manual of encyclopaedic proportions, detailing every aspect of the reproduction – colour tones, proportions, how they should be drawn and shown – and heaven help anyone that got it wrong and coloured outside the lines!
I was reminded of this whilst out for tea last week with the wonderfully talented Marianne Hartley of Hartley and Soul (@HartleySoul), who specialises in helping companies rebrand. We both recognised that these days, we are all much more aware not only of the value of our brand, but of the need to both promote it and protect it. We are all aware (or at least I hope everyone is aware) of the dangers of drifting too far into someone else’s brand space. I hope you also all know that if you do need advice on protecting your brand, or what to do if someone is messing with your IP, you should pick up the phone to me for a chat, instead of reaching for the broom .
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Grown up solutions for Micky Mouse typed problems.