Games companies‘must protect their IP’ to survive, says Abertay expert

For immediate release: Tuesday 20 July

Small computer games businesses need to take greater control of their most important asset– their intellectual property– to protect jobs and their future profits, according to a legal expert at the University of Abertay Dundee.

Dr Margaret Hartnett, an experienced European patent attorney, believes that games companies who do not take early steps to product their intellectual property (IP) are putting future success at risk.

To help bring this advice to the UK’s creative industries, she has brought together experts from companies like Google, Nokia and Sony for a two-day conference this September called Digital Spark. Topics covered include IP law for beginners, combating counterfeiting and protecting profits.

Dr Hartnett said:“For computer games businesses their value isn’t in the traditional physical assets like goods, machinery and buildings. Up to 70% of their company value is intangible and they must be able to protect this.

“Understanding how the trademark and copyright systems work is crucial– to build a creative business, and create jobs and profits, you must take steps early to assert your ownership of your intellectual property. And you must be able to take legal action to challenge anyone infringing on this.”

This major international conference is being launched just days after Culture Minister Ed Vaizey officially opened a£5 million investment project at Abertay, which is providing grants and business support to new games businesses to build prototypes and attract private investment.

Dr Hartnett added:“To help business owners and managers from across the creative industries navigate the complexities of IP law, we’ve brought together internationally renowned experts.

“As well as major keynote speeches from Google, Nokia and Sony executives, we’re running seminars with IP lawyers, and a morning of introductory sessions on the basics of IP law for anyone completely new to this essential area.”

Running on September 1 and 2 at Abertay University, Digital Spark is a unique opportunity for creative and media companies to learn first-hand from international experts how to plan– and protect– the future success of their business.

For more information about the conference, and to register, please visit


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The Digital Spark conference is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Scottish Enterprise.

Speakers at the conference include ELSPA Director General Michael Rawlinson; Google Europe’s Senior Product Counsel, Trevor Callaghan; Nokia’s Chief Legal Officer, Louise Pentland; and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s IP&Technology Director, Hogarth Andall.

Business people with no prior knowledge of intellectual property law can attend a morning of introductory seminars covering patents, trade marks, enforcing copyright and created a balanced portfolio of games IP. These sessions will prepare any delegate to fully take part in the conference’s specialist sessions.

Highlights of the main programme include how publishers and developers can work closer together, how to protect and enforce computer games IP, and how to create new business models for paid content.

Also addressing the conference are Colin Macdonald, Studio Manager at Realtime Worlds; and Tim Collins, Head of Commercial Development for Children's Entertainment at DC Thomson.

Last week Culture Minister Ed Vaizey launched a£5 million business support project to be run by Abertay University. This will involve creating new businesses and giving fledgling companies the chance to develop working prototypes that can attract further investment, thereby generating increased economic activity.

Full information on all speakers is available at

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