Preventing unauthorised use of an animated character & its appearance requires its author to apply for copyright protection in Europe & other jurisdictions. They should also keep in mind that such protection is granted to them automatically after a character is created. If you’re an author interested in ensuring IP protection for animated characters in the EU or UK, you’re highly recommended to remember that before creating & using your character for commercial purposes.
Copyright Protection: US & Europe
Normally ,copyright protection in Europe is granted for seventy years & can be prolonged indefinitely until a copyright right owner passes away. Ensuring copyright protection requires proving that 3rd parties have used all or a significant portion of a copyrighted artwork without obtaining its creator’s permission.
In practical terms, getting copyright protection in Europe & determining whether a “significant portion” of an artwork has been used requires carrying out a thorough comparison of the original & infringing character.
As mentioned before, in most countries, including Great Britain & Europe, copyright protection is granted automatically after a work is created; hence, it requires no registration with the official registry.
However, in some jurisdictions, it’s possible to register any copyright with a proper copyright register. For example, in the US, copyright protection is registered with the US Copyright Office. By registering a copyright in the US, copyright owners can also get additional protection (e.g. penalties & fines) & enforce their rights more effectively.
Europe: TM Registration
Sometimes, protecting an animated character’s name & image may require its creator to register a TM in Europe. By getting TM protection for an animated character in the EU or Great Britain, its creator can count on indefinite protection until a respective TM is used.
EU: IP Protection
Those looking to protect animated characters in Europe must take care of it at an early stage, and more specifically, before a character is used for the first time publicly. If they fail to do that, they may not obtain effective protection & face costly litigation. Getting IP protection for an animated character in Europe requires its creators to ensure its absolute novelty & distinctiveness.
Also, those planning to create an animated character should think in advance about the enforcement of IP rights in Europe & how their artworks will be used & sold after they get IP protection for an animated character in Europe.
Seeking to get IP protection for an animated character in the EU? Need advice on IP protection in the EU or US? Why not contact IQ Decision UK?