Friday, September 07, 2007

Not a Portakabin

Just to prove I do really understand the importance of trademarks (sorry Dick), here's a story I sold to the Radio Times five years ago, when the Doctor Who revival was still just a fanboy's dream. The story got picked up everywhere - including the BBC news, which hadn't noticed up until then...

From the Radio Times, published October 22 2002

As any fan of Doctor Who will tell you, the Doctor stole his Tardis from the Time Lords of Gallifrey. But the question of who actually owns the time-travelling machine has been keeping lawyers busy here on Earth.

Due to a malfunction in its chameleon circuit, the Tardis spent the 26-year run of the show disguised as a blue police public call box of the kind common on thestreets of London and other British cities from 1929 until the sixties. London's blue boxes were owned by the Metropolitan Police - but a ruling by the UK Patent Office has ended a six-year legal battle by giving all rights in the design to the BBC. They decided the boxes are now "more associated with the TV series" than with the police themselves.

"We're disappointed, but philosophical, " says a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police. The Met has, however, registered the rights to the traditional blue police-station lamp and its metal identity badge, which might cause problems forany remakes of Dixon of Dock Green or Juliet Bravo.

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