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The cat’s pyjamas?

Ben Scarfield considers whether the image rights in a real animal can be utilised and harnessed in trade marks systems around the world

31 January 2017

The technological advances of the last few years have allowed us to share information at an ever-faster rate. Among these vital technological advances – enabling communication of news, cutting-edge medical research, and scientific advancement – there has been one other conspicuous change: the rise of the pet owner.

Never before have people been able to instantly share images of their beloved pets across the world, resulting in overnight celebrity status. Never before have people been able to take advantage of, and monetise, their animals to the scale and immediacy that is now possible. However, with these new methods of communication, owners are forced to come to terms with traditional intellectual property and trade mark law to exercise control over their business – a trade mark being any sign which is recognised as an indication of origin for goods and services.

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