We are happy to announce the launch of a new service— the FRAPA Infringement Guide — supported by free case assessments from industry experts.
The Infringement Guide is our response to a call from format professionals to provide practical, step-by-step assistance on what to do in the event of a suspected intellectual property (IP) infringement by a producer, broadcaster or platform. The new tool consists of an infographic that clearly and systematically illustrates the steps needed to ascertain whether a format has been copied, along with the actions that should then be taken.
In combination with the Infringement Guide, FRAPA board members are offering face-to-face consultations to assess cases that fall outside of the guide’s parameters. In more complex cases, FRAPA’S preferred legal partners can be consulted to help secure a swift and fair resolution.
Phil Gurin, co-chair of FRAPA, said: “Infringement in all its many guises is a major topic within the FRAPA community, particularly the rise in partial infringement as a result of the proliferation of streaming platforms. We know from experience that, in today’s fractured and fragmented marketplace, cases are never simple or indeed similar, so the Infringement Guide adopts a layered approach to provide first hand clear answers to complex issues. An important part of FRAPA’s mission is to offer practical help to our members: we believe the Infringement Guide, supported by one-on-one consultations with FRAPA executives and/or legal partners, represents a significant step towards achieving this goal.”
In a recent FRAPA questionnaire of its members and users of the Format Registration Service, 29% of respondents said they had experienced infringement but had done nothing about it due to a lack of knowledge and/or the time to invest in what is perceived to be a long, expensive and confusing process.
The Infringement Guide is the latest in our suite of services designed to combat IP theft and encourage best practice within the global formats community. The first such tool — the Format Registration Service (FRS) — was launched simultaneously with FRAPA itself back in 2000. The FRS, which provides the IP-owner with an immutable date of registration, is one of the key moves in FRAPA’s 20-step guide on how to protect a format.
In 2017, FRAPA introduced the FRAPA Analysis Service (FAS) and the FRAPA Legal Report. The FAS employs a combination of expert opinion and bespoke analysis methodology to ascertain whether two formats share sufficient similarities to be considered essentially the same. The FRAPA Legal Report examines what format protection if available under international law, based on 40 reported judgements in 20 major TV territories.
Jan Salling, co-chair of FRAPA, added: “It’s devastating for a creative business to be ripped off, but it’s equally damaging to be wrongfully accused. The big producers and broadcasters are frequently accused of theft, often by new players who are unclear about the difference between a format and an idea. Conversely, there are inexperienced companies out there who are the victim of theft but don’t realise it — and never will without clear, industry-approved procedures for determining IP infringement. As a neutral association, FRAPA’s overriding aim is to foster trust, respect and creativity within the global formats industry.”
Download the guide here.