Wynne-Jones IP to tackle industry’s copycat issues with Code of Conduct launch

At next month’s Toy and Game Design Conference, Victor Caddy – trademark and design attorney and partner at Wynne-Jones IP – will be unveiling a ‘Code of Conduct’ initiative aimed at tackling the issue of copycat product in the industry.

To be clear, a copycat product in this sense is one that attempts to convince the consumer that it’s a cheaper version of a specific, pre-existing, popular product.

The initiative will invite designers, invention agencies, toy and game companies and retail buyers to come together to outline a code of conduct designed to ensure original concepts are better protected. This means giving designers and toy firms a platform to engage with retailers when copycat product appears on shelf, while establishing best practices for retail buyers.

The aim is to ensure they understand that while copycat product is often legal, from an ethical standpoint, it often robs inventors of royalties and toy firms of sales.

The initiative will also cover the issue of illegal copycat product and ranges that infringe IP rights and often do not comply with safety standards.

“When Mojo Nation first highlighted the serious issue of so-called copycat games, it was inevitable that it would spark debate in the very tight-knit community of toy and game inventors, manufacturers and associated retailers,” said Wynne-Jones IP’s Victor Caddy.

“For the many individuals and businesses in this field, their very existence, let alone success, depends on creativity and innovation, but this is a difficult subject to tackle from a legal perspective because, usually, no law is being broken.

“The idea behind a game or toy is typically un-protectable, and, by adopting a different name, a copycat manufacturer can easily make sure it avoids trade mark infringement.

“We wanted to help the industry create a Code of Conduct that makes the issue fairer and more transparent, and thereby brings good to the industry as a whole. We have been surprised and delighted by the reception the initiative has received so far across almost all parts of the industry and we want to encourage as many people as possible in the coming months to help shape the framework of this important Code.

“Anyone wanting to get in touch and discuss the topic further ahead of the Toy and Game Design Conference in September can contact myself at victor.caddy@wynne-jones.com.

In the Autumn, post-Conference, interested designers, companies and retailers will be invited to meet courtesy of Wynne-Jones IP at the firm’s London office, with the aim of ensuring the final Code of Conduct is in place for 2020 and the Toy Fair season.

Mojo Nation’s Billy Langsworthy added: “As an independent law firm specialising in IP, Wynne-Jones IP is perfectly placed to spearhead this campaign as it understands the complex legalities, the rights of individuals and can be totally impartial in building a Code which works for the toy and game designer community.”

Taking place at London’s Stamford Bridge Stadium on Monday, September 2, the Toy and Game Design Conference unites the industry’s creator community for a day of inspiring talks around creativity, design and play.

To book your ticket to this year’s Toy and Game Design Conference, or learn more about the event, head to: www.toyandgamedesignconference.com.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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