Banks and other financial institutions make considerable use of the intellectual property system.
The abbreviations and acronyms for the electronic fund clearing systems like VISA, SWIFT and LINK are famous brands well protected by trade mark registrations throughout the world. So, too, are the names or abbreviations of the institutions themselves = Barclays, BNP and UBS – not to mention logos such as Lloyd’s black horse and the stylized St. Andrew’s crosses of HBOS and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Some of those brands such as the Barclays eagle are protected by design registration.
Banks have also made many inventions many of which are software implemented. Several patent cases over the last 15 years have turned on whether the inventions are caught by the business method, computer program or other exclusions of art 52 (2) (c) of the European Patent Convention.
Computer programs used in banking are, of course, protected by copyright as literary works. So, too, are masses of other material used in marketing and general administration.
Finally, banks and other financial institutions acquire in the course of their business personal and commercially sensitive information from their customers and other connections all of which has to be safeguarded and managed.
Jane Lambert first began to grapple with these issues when she was legal advisor to VISA International for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the early 1980s. She has contributed to the literature of the subject ever since the 1980s. She has continued to advise and act for financial institutions and those dealing with them since she returned to private practice.
Whenever there is a significant development of the law relating to banking, or whenever we discover a point of law that we would like to share with the industry and its other professional advisors, we will at least blog it. If we think it is sufficiently important we may even publish an article or special feature on the topic. Also, from time to time we hold conferences and seminars on the legal issues affecting banking.
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