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Good morning everybody and happy world intellectual property day!

"World intellectual property what?" I hear you say. "What's that got to do with ballet?"

Well the answer is: "quite a lot".

Ever wondered why your ballet teacher seeks your permission to record your rehearsal on her mobile phone or why the ushers are all over you like a rash if you try to film a bit of a ballet?   Well, the answer is that every performer - even the two left footed kind like yours truly - is a "performer" and every performer has the right under Part II of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to object to the filming, taping or broadcasting of his or her performance.

Intellectual property protects investment in creativity and innovation and that includes choreography, musical scores, set designs, the principal ballerina's tutu as well as her performance on stage.  It can also include quite technical things too.  You'd be surprised at the number of patent applications for pointe shoes.

Happily there have not been too many cases involving dancers over the years.  Probably the most famous is Massine v De Basil  [1936-45] MCC 233, (1938) over title to the copyrights in a ballet.  A case which I cited more than once over the commissioning of computer software.

If you are wondering why the 26 April was chosen, it commemorates the day when the WIPO Treaty came into force on 26 April 1974.   WIPO (if you are interested) is the UN specialist agency for intellectual property.

If for nothing else, IP is worth celebrating for funding my ballet going, my classes at KNT Danceworks in Manchester and Northern Ballet in Leeds, my ballet blog, Powerhouse Ballet, and "Stage Door" a new service which one of the moderators has permitted me to mention to you shortly.   So raise a glass to IP when you tuck into your roast beef and Yorkshire today.

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After gaining my first classical contract in France, (auditions early in the year to start in the Autumn) I worked part time in London over the summer for a Trade Mark & Patent agent. Very interesting and I learnt a lot. One of my tasks was to file renewal applications for Trade Marks. Two of their main clients were big pharmaceutical companies and some of the names of drugs were very long and complicated. This was in the days of manual typewriters so you didn't want any mistakes or it would have to be done again!

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It's a busy day - for not only is IP being marked but apparently it's also World Pilots Day.  Does anyone know who agrees these 'World' days?  Could we declare a World BalletcoForum Day?  

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12 hours ago, Terpsichore said:

You'd be surprised at the number of patent applications for pointe shoes.

 

I would indeed - that was one thing that it never occurred to me that someone might patent!  Although I suppose Gaynor Mindens might qualify as an example.

 

Quote

If for nothing else, IP is worth celebrating for funding my ballet going,

 

Mine too, if you think about it.

 

Pas de Quatre - I feel your pain, as they say, having had to type longwinded chemical names on an electric typewriter when I started!  Mind you, the WangWriter wasn't much better.

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7 hours ago, Ian Macmillan said:

It's a busy day - for not only is IP being marked but apparently it's also World Pilots Day.  Does anyone know who agrees these 'World' days?  Could we declare a World BalletcoForum Day?  

 

Ian, I don't know, I've never worked it out, but some are so ludicrous that I'm sure we could :) 

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13 hours ago, Terpsichore said:

Good morning everybody and happy world intellectual property day!

 

In celebration whereof, I (once again) quote the following:

 

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=GB&NR=1426698A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=&date=19760303&DB=&locale=en_ep#

 

AKA:

 

"PHOTON PUSH-PULL RADIATION DETECTOR FOR USE IN CHROMATICALLY SELECTIVE CAT FLAP CONTROL AND 1000 MEGATON EARTH-ORBITAL PEACE-KEEPING BOMB"

 

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I was surprised when Baby Ballet managed to register that name as a Trademark. It has been used by lots of schools over the decades. Perhaps the application wasn't advertised in places dance teachers would see it and be able to object.

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19 hours ago, Ian Macmillan said:

It's a busy day - for not only is IP being marked but apparently it's also World Pilots Day.  Does anyone know who agrees these 'World' days?  Could we declare a World BalletcoForum Day?  

 

Good idea. I do International Talk Like A Pirate Day - I answer the phone in my best Robert Newton voice "Arrgghhh Jim Lad!"

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On 26/04/2020 at 10:20, Pas de Quatre said:

….. Two of their main clients were big pharmaceutical companies and some of the names of drugs were very long and complicated. This was in the days of manual typewriters so you didn't want any mistakes or it would have to be done again!

 

Reminds of the number of handwritten paper prescriptions I had to tear up because I spelled the drug name wrong in the pre electronic prescribing days...

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On 27/04/2020 at 06:57, Pas de Quatre said:

I was surprised when Baby Ballet managed to register that name as a Trademark. It has been used by lots of schools over the decades. Perhaps the application wasn't advertised in places dance teachers would see it and be able to object.

 

That's ridiculous (assuming it was for dance teaching services).  I can't remember whether you can object once registration has taken place, but apart from anything else, presumably it's descriptive and non-distinctive?  From my layperson's point of view, I'd have thought so.

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Baby Ballet is big business - it runs as a franchise for 6 months old babies up to age 6.  They were very aggresive with marketing and I know a couple of teachers who received frightening letters for advertising their own classes they have called Baby Ballet for years.  However having said all that, I just looked up their website and the name has changed, and is now in lower case, all one word, "babyballet" so perhaps someone did fight back!

 

 

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I should hope so!  There are rules about how threatening a "cease and desist" letter is allowed to be (i.e. not very), but even so they can be quite scary to someone without an IP background.  Reminds me of the case, maybe 15 years ago, when a French company managed to get a French trademark registered for/involving "Translations" (I believe by arguing on the basis that it wasn't descriptive because the French for "translation" in terms of converting something from one language to another is "traduction", not "translation"!) and then proceeded against several translation companies in France which were unfortunate enough to have "Translation(s)" in their name!

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