This past Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018, I had the pleasure of attending the D1 MEET UP, a monthly networking event for the Kuwaiti creative community, hosted by Dina Al-Mallak and Jassim Burhama of CEE Network, and Masscreation Productions. This month’s meet up featured Raed Al-Hout, US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Intellectual Property (IP) Specialist for MENA, who is based out of the US Embassy of Kuwait. Al-Hout discussed Intellectual Property Rights in Kuwait in comparison with the US, and international treaties that govern IP rights.
Having over fifteen years of experience in the media industry back in the US, both as a creative and attorney, the MEET UP was a very eye-opening experience to what information the creative community lacks and desires in connection with Intellectual Property rights and management. I further learned of a recent dispute between an IP rights owner and an entity in Kuwait that used the rights owner’s music without consent and/or due compensation. This is a clear example of how IP rights are perceived in Kuwait but safeguards must be made by individuals and businesses to prevent being the party to a litigation defending the non-consensual use of a 3rd parties’ IP.
Just for background knowledge, things that fall under the IP law include, without limitation, video footage, photographs, paintings, posters, music, sound effects, radio material, uniforms, vehicles, logos, books, magazines, newspapers, maps, and identifiable products and labels. Thus, if you plan on using any of the above-mentioned materials for commercial use that is not the original creation of your own or business, then it is best practice to obtain permission prior to such use.
Obtaining the clearance to use a third party’s IP should not require much paperwork, time or money. A simple one-page Materials Release that specifies the name of the rights holder, the name and description of the IP, how and where the IP will be used (e.g., territory, duration, repetition, etc.), the compensation (if any) for use of the IP, and the signature of the rights holder, would suffice as evidence of consent for usage of a 3rd party’s IP.
While there are exceptions to the restrictions of IP law, where a party can use 3rd party IP without prior permission, fair use doctrine, such use must meet certain criteria that is not always easy to prove.Further with the amount of content available in the world, if an IP rights holder is difficult then it is best to use a different source and/or simply create original content.
By Najmah Mateese Brown, Esq.