The disputed ownership of the Rabbit telepoint logo stirred fresh
controversy in the High Court this week when a QC challenged client
claims about the pitch at which Hook Advertising won the pounds 4
Alistair Wilson, Hook’s counsel, was questioning client evidence that
pitching agencies had specifically been asked to come up with logo ideas
and that the one with the best idea would get the business. If it was
true that pitching agencies were told that everything depended on the
logo idea, Wilson said, why had Hook gone into the pitch with a broadly
based strategic and creative pitch?
Why too, after it won the business, did the agency settle for a short
contract on not particularly generous terms if it thought it did not
have a valuable asset in the logo?
Wilson was summing up on the 12th day of a hearing into a claim by
Hutchison Personal Communications that it owns the copyright to the
logo, devised by Chris Joseph, Hook’s chairman. The logo, a central
feature of the Rabbit ad campaign, was presented at the pitch and before
an agreement with the agency was signed. Hook’s lawyers say Hutchison’s
copyright ownership claim should be rejected because the logo was
produced on the agency’s initiative and not because of a client’s
request to do so.
A ruling by Mrs Justice Arden, which is expected next month, will
establish the first legal precedent on the extent of agencies’ rights
over their creative ideas.
Wilson claimed that no formal agency brief had been produced by the BYPS
telepoint consortium, which later sold the Rabbit licence to Hutchison.
He said Hook had not gone into the pitch to present a logo but to prove
itself capable of running the BYPS account. It had no idea how big an
impact the Rabbit concept, which was an afterthought to Hook’s pitch,
had made on BYPS, he claimed. If BYPS had wanted the copyright it would
have been easy to make provision for it in the contract, he added.
The hearing finishes at the end of this week.