You and the Law – 19th October 2010

Child’s play

I have invented a children’s board game.  But before I try to manufacture it, should I protect it with copyright?  How do you copyright anything?  DH

Copyright protection is not something you need to apply for it’s an automatic right.  However, copyright subsists in certain types of  ‘work’ and does not protect ideas, just expressions of those ideas.  For example, the design on the board would attract copyright protection, as would the rules of the game.

It may be worth posting the rules to yourself so that you have proof of the date that you invented the game should a dispute occur later.
You could also register a trademark of the name, so you should be careful not to use a common or descriptive word for the name of the game if possible.

Car trouble

We bought a car privately eight months ago through a magazine advert for £2,600.00.  We tried to sell it in part-exchange, but the garage owner discovered through an HPI check that the man who sold us the car still owes money to the finance company.  The car therefore shows up as still belonging to him.  The police say they can’t help us.  What can we do?  CM

It will depend on what type of finance agreement the previous owner entered into.  If the car was bought on a hire purchase agreement or conditional sale the car belongs to the finance company until the finance has been paid in full.  If payments are not made, the finance company can repossess the car from you.

You may be able to prevent the car from being repossessed if you can show that you bought the car in good faith, without knowledge of the finance agreement.  This exception does not apply to cars that are subject to a hire agreement.  You may need to see a solicitor.

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