MAA Pitch Protection is designed to help prevent disputes with clients arising in the first place by acting as a deterrent to clients thinking about stealing your ideas.
Protecting agency creativity is important. Under English law it is difficult to rely on intellectual property rights, such as copyright and trade marks, to protect the ideas and concepts behind a campaign. The age-old saying “there is no copyright in an idea” is fundamentally true. Often, the real value in the content of a pitch is the creative idea or concept. To protect that idea or concept agencies will often have to rely on the law of confidentiality (see “What is the Legal Effect?” below).
MAA Pitch Protection is designed to help evidence a relationship of confidentiality and to put the client or prospective client on notice of the fact that the agency considers that the pitch is confidential, and identify to core concepts that the agency considers valuable and that it seeks to protect. Registration of the pitch documents will create independent evidence of what the agency had created and when.
Download and complete the Application Form (see Notes for Completion of Application Form below).
Send the Application Form, together with a hard copy of all relevant pitch documents to:
MAA Pitch Registration, c/o Lee & Thompson, 4 Gee's Court, St Christopher's Place, London, W1U 1JD.
Please also send the Application Form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org heading your email 'Pitch Protection'. This will make it easier for us to complete the Registration Certificate.
Within 24 hours of receipt of this documentation you will receive by email a pitch Registration Certificate together with a copyright and confidentiality notice to include in your pitch materials. A hard copy will be sent to you by first class post. Lee & Thompson will retain a copy of the Registration Certificate, the Application Form and pitch materials. These will be released only on request from the authorised representative stated in the Application Form. You will need to tell us if the representative changes.
Many pitch documents are completed at the last minute. The information you need to complete the Application Form should be available before you complete the pitch materials. You can complete the Application Form and send it to us in advance by email to email@example.com. We will then prepare your certificate so that it is ready to be sent back to you as soon as you send us the final pitch documentation. When we receive the documentation we will register the documents, complete the certificate and email it to you as quickly as we can.
Yes, but it is much less valuable. One of the main purposes of using Pitch Protection is to register the pitch materials before the pitch and to tell the client that you have done so by including the Pitch Protection Certificate and the Copyright and Confidentiality Notice in your pitch materials. If you leave it until after the pitch you may have already disclosed the information without asserting your rights. Registering after the pitch will at least mean that there is an independent record of what you say was presented to the client.
Registration with Pitch Protection does not guarantee that your ideas can be protected - if a dispute arises you still have to satisfy the legal requirements which are to show that (a) your ideas are confidential and valuable; (b) that they were disclosed in confidence; and (c) that a third party has used those ideas without your authorisation. Registration and use of the copyright and confidentiality notice will help demonstrate that the ideas were disclosed in confidence, and should help identify the ideas that you say are confidential and valuable.
Most of the form is self-explanatory and simply requires you to provide some basic information about the agency, the client, and the date of the pitch.