‘Image rights’ is a catch-all term used to refer to the various legal rights attached to a person’s:

  • image or ‘likeness’
  • personality
  • name, nickname or catchphrase
  • physical nature or manner

In the UK, individuals have the right to prevent the use of their image rights if it is likely to damage their reputation, or if a third party intends to exploit them for commercial gain.

This is not just a legal issue that only pertains to celebrities, as you might expect. Ordinary members of the public have the same rights, which means even Joe Bloggs could issue court proceedings against Jane Doe if her tweet misquoted him and thus cast him in a negative light. Provided he hadn’t previously (expressly or impliedly) authorised the use of his image rights, that is.

We can offer you a free consultation and review of the issues if:

  • You think your image rights have been exploited in a way which has caused, or may cause, damage to your reputation
  • You would like to obtain clearance to use another person’s image rights

We will then advise you on the options available and the related costs. To set up a consultation, fill in the form and we’ll get in touch shortly.

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As the world becomes more and more tech-savvy, companies must get better at protecting how their content is used. This is regulated through license agreements between companies and consumers (e.g. the Ts+Cs that most people click and accept without reading).

These agreements can protect your content from:

  • Being used for commercial gain
  • Being watch in territories not previously agreed
  • Being watched on multiple devices
  • Being used in a way that was not envisaged at the time the license agreement was entered into

All of which could put your content at risk and/or result in a loss of revenue.

Bolt Burdon’s intellectual property lawyers have entertainment and multi-media industry specific knowledge—providing clients with specialist legal advice in this field.

We can advise on everything, for example the digital distribution of sound recordings. We also regularly advise and represent companies and entrepreneurs on various internet, on-line, mobile and website issues.

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A trademark is a symbol or word(s) that is legally registered to a company or product, giving the owner the exclusive right to use the mark. This is an important step for an ambitious business, as it ensures that competitors cannot use similar marks (preventing them from capitalising on brand recognition they did not work to gain).

Our experts can advise you on:

  • The availability and registrability of a mark
  • Filing trademark applications for protection in both the UK and EU
  • Prosecuting trademarks through to registration

Resolving Disputes:

Sometimes, these applications are opposed by existing trademark owners, or those that claim to have an earlier right to use a mark. If this happens with your registration, we can help you resolve these disputes.

Post-Registration Issues:

Once you have successfully obtained your trademark, we can assist with any post-registration issues, such as:

  • Renewals
  • Enforcing your trademark against any attempts to infringe it
  • Monitoring future filings by other businesses that may threaten the identity and security of your trademark


Where a mark has not been registered but has been used over time and acquired goodwill, it is possible to restrict unauthorised use of that mark (or something similar) if it is likely to lead to public confusion.

We always recommend avoiding such situations by securing your trademark early, however, if you find yourself in that situation, we can help.

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Copyright gives an owner control over how their work—text, pictures, music, software, sound recordings, choreography, etc.—is used for a fixed number of years. It arises automatically on the creation of any original work and doesn’t need to be registered before protection is obtained. The only stipulation is that it is written down (copyright does not protect ideas in someone’s head).

Our specialist team has experience advising on sophisticated and complex copyright disputes. We have conducted High Court and County Court litigation, covering a wide variety of copyright infringement.

Common questions we are asked to advise on include:

  • Which elements of my business’ products or services qualify for copyright protection?
  • Do I own the copyright to any original works created by my employee or contractor?
  • How can I maximise the financial return on my copyright?
  • Is a third party infringing my copyright and how can I stop this?
  • What is the basis for calculating the damage to my business from copyright infringement and what compensation can I claim for?
  • Is my business infringing someone else’s copyright?
  • Are there any defences available to my potential infringement?

Leveraging Copyright

We can help you establish a legal strategy to both protect your original work or work that you contracted someone to do for you and exploit your rights so that you maximise their value.

This strategy will consider everything from licensing the use of copyrighted materials to a third party, to how to package your rights attractively for a sale. Aer all, if the demand is there then the opportunities for making money are many and varied, and we’d like to help you make the most of them.

Copyright Infringement

  • If you are ever concerned that you or your business may be infringing the copyright owned by a third party, we can assess your situation and give you clear, practical recommendations on how to improve your position/minimise risk.
  • If you think your copyright is being infringed, we can help you take the necessary steps to prevent the unlawful copying, sharing, or adapting of your work. This may be done informally (through correspondence) or through more extreme measures, depending on the situation.

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In an increasingly crowded marketplace, having a distinctive design that catches people’s attention can make or break a product. This makes design very valuable. Protect your creativity (and maximise its value) by taking advantage of the design rights available in the UK.

Registered Designs

If you/your business has designed a unique product, there’s a good chance it will qualify for registered design right protection. Acquiring this is crucial if you want to ensure return on investment, as without it your design could be copied, and value could be compromised.

Design right protects the appearance—in particular the lines, colours, shapes, textures, materials, or decorative features—of a product (either internally or externally) from being copied for up to 25 years.

Our team of specialists can, in the UK and across the European Community:

  • Advise whether your designs and products qualify for protection
  • Register those designs and renew them as required
  • Carry out searches of the UK and EC design rights databases and advise whether your design infringes any existing third-party rights
  • Advise whether your design attracts automatic unregistered design right protection
  • Advise you on how you can commercialise and exploit your design right
  • Help maintain the integrity of your design portfolio by monitoring the registration of competing products
  • Prepare and negotiate license agreements for third parties to use your design
  • Advise on any ownership issues.

We are also experienced at preventing others from taking advantage of your designs by taking firm and swift action against any wrongdoings.

Talk to a specialist about any aspect of your design rights.

Unregistered Design Rights

Although registration is strongly recommended, an unregistered design right can arise automatically on creation of a design.

If you want expert advice on whether your design qualifies for unregistered design rights, or if you need help enforcing these rights, get in touch. We can help you sort through the information and devise a solution that best protects your creativity going forward.