50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Niall Trainor at Entertainment One
Niall Trainor is senior director of brand protection at eOne in the UK
Managing the intellectual property rights to the Peppa Pig franchise is bound to keep you busy and in the news. So, it’s no surprise that this next entrant is on our list for the second year in a row.
Last year, Niall Trainor’s inclusion was based on securing well-known trademark status in China. This year, it’s down to his efforts in Russia.
In June, Russia’s Second Appeal Commercial Court confirmed Peppa Pig characters had been infringed. That ruling overturned a judgment from March 2022 from the Kirov Commercial Court, which denied IP protection on the basis of Western sanctions.
The UK unit of eOne, which owns the Peppa Pig brand, filed its complaint in September 2021, alleging that the defendant, a Russian individual, was selling counterfeit figurines from the series.
It could have been a routine open and shut case – but between the matter being filed and judgment being issued, Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion prompted a slew of sanctions from Western nations and counter responses from Russia, which included disavowing IP belonging to “unfriendly” nations, including the UK.
In his March edict, Judge A P Slavinsky dismissed eOne’s claims and found that the complaint was filed in bad faith because the plaintiff was based in the UK.
The decision created uncertainty for foreign brand owners in Russia.
The fact that it was then overturned on appeal came as welcome relief to many.
Trainor told Managing IP shortly after the appeal court’s verdict that denying legal protection to an entity purely based on its jurisdiction was against the public interest.
He said: “In a period of an undoubtedly complex and fractious geopolitical environment, it is more important than ever that the rule of law holds firm where possible.”