Guernsey innovates with new laws on image rights, Foundations

Guernsey is moving to reach new investors and asset managers worldwide with innovations in its service offerings, notably with updated legislation on Foundations and the creation of an Image Rights register.

The long-awaited Foundations (Guernsey) Law 2012 came into force on 7 January, and the first Foundation to be registered, a local charity dedicated to raising awareness of male cancer, has already been established.

Gavin Ferguson, Managing Partner of law firm Appleby in Guernsey, who advised on the first registration, said Guernsey’s Foundation framework is likely to interest to a variety of clients, “in particular for those from civil law countries less familiar with trusts”.

“It will also be of interest to those attracted to Guernsey’s G20 ‘white’ list status and its excellent wealth management reputation, including those with existing foundations looking to migrate their foundations from less well regulated or less convenient jurisdictions,” he said.

Meanwhile the island is hosting a conference in London on January 23rd which will consult on the world’s first image rights legislation, focusing on asset protection and exploitation management.

“The legislation has been designed to cater for today’s culture of the celebrity, where image and brand are both increasingly important and have, to date, been very hard to protect and manage,” a statement from the promotional body Guernsey Finance said.

Fiona Le Poidevin (pictured), Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, said the event would provide an insight into what was a new chapter for asset protection and exploitation management. Panel experts include Dominic Crossley of Collyer Bristow, Mark Engelman from Hardwicke and David Evans of Collas Crill IP.

Elaine Gray of Carey Olsen, who will moderate a panel session, will also provide an overview of the legislation. John Ogier from the Bailiwick of Guernsey Intellectual Property Office will outline the background to the establishment of an image rights register.

Delegates will hear about the practicalities of implementation; the difference between an image right and other IP rights; financial management; scope and use of image rights; and how to deal with infringement, including brand and reputational issues.

“Being able to register image rights in an environment which recognises them by statute provides greater clarity in the definition of rights and a higher degree of protection from unauthorised use by third parties than is currently on offer in any other jurisdiction,” Le Poidevin said.

The Guernsey Registry’s Intellectual Property Office opened for image rights registrations on 3 December and the first application was received the same day.

The island is developing expertise in the subject, with more than 150 local advocates, financial service providers and intellectual property specialists so far attending Guernsey Intellectual Property Office training courses on the new legislation and associated infrastructure.

“The hope is that in addition to using Guernsey for its unique image rights capability, global personalities and brands will use the Island’s broader wealth management offering to service their wider financial needs,” said Le Poidevin.

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