The Format Recognition and Protection Association (FRAPA), the international body dedicated to the protection of formats, is claiming that it is now possible to answer one of the most contentious questions in format protection — whether one format is a rip-off of another.
The new methodology, launching in June exclusively to FRAPA members, is said to be able to prove whether two formats share sufficient similarities to be considered essentially the same. The FRAPA Analysis Service (FAS) employs a combination of expert opinion and bespoke analysis methodology. Its judgements are based on FRAPA-developed analysis methodology, overseen by format specialists who are said to have been hand-picked for their experience in all aspects of the global business. The methodology lists all the elements that make up a format, and ranks them in order of importance. By comparing and contrasting these key components, FRAPA believes that it becomes possible to determine whether one format is a copy of another.
If it were the case that formats shared such similarities, FRAPA says that it will provide a written a statement in support of what it deems to be the original format. This it insists will serve as strong proof in any subsequent legal case and can be used in court.
“Courts of law are unpredictable when it comes to formats and copyright, and are swayed by many different considerations in format disputes,” explained David Lyle (pictured), FRAPA founder, board member and president of PACT US. “But in the real world, it boils down to a simple question: is one format an unauthorised copy of another? At last, we have found a solution to our industry’s greatest challenge. It’s a milestone moment for FRAPA and everyone who has trusted us with the protection of their intellectual property.”