https://ipo.blog.gov.uk/2015/05/12/driving-ip/

Driving IP

For my birthday this year my kids bought me a day out at Llandow race circuit - 3 laps in a super car of my choice.

So a few weeks ago, the 4 of us drove down the M4 to Cowbridge. After signing various pieces of paper and promising not to crash , I selected my car of choice. Having been told previously that the Ferrari would be heavily subscribed and that the wait would be long, I opted for the Aston Martin DB9.

A quick safety lecture followed and then outside for a couple of laps with an instructor in a normal family car. As we went round, the instructor pointed out the correct line to take, where to accelerate and most importantly the optimum place to start braking.

Keep it under your crash helmet

When you think about it, the knowledge of the circuit gives an advantage to anyone who has the information. The know-how and the show-how in any business can give a competitive advantage. This is why it is important to keep certain data within an organisation confidential. The use of NDA’s (Non Disclosure Agreements) or confidential agreements should be considered in any dealings with external companies or representatives.

What should be regarded as confidential information? Anything from customer lists to technical data and pricing strategies. Anything which if a competitor discovered would allow them to gain an unfair advantage.

Dossier

With the Formula 1 season now underway, cast your minds back to 2007, when Ferrari were dominant. The Belgian Grand Prix had virtually secured the constructors championship.  Ferrari president paid tribute to his driver and eventual F1 champion, Kimi Raikkonen. But he dedicated the win to an unknown English gentleman, the manager in a photocopy shop.

What transpired is that the anonymous employee tipped off Ferrari that somebody had copied 780 pages of their technical data. The dossier was found at the home of McLarens former chief designer. The scandal cost his team the title and a £50 million fine.

Inside knowledge

Imagine the scenario where one team knows exactly how the opponent's car is going to be set up. What tyres they are going to use, how much fuel is going in, when they are going to make a pit stop etc. Could this happen in your industry?

An example NDA is available on our website. But as with any legal document, using an IP specialist to draw one up specifically for your requirements would be beneficial.

Anyway, back to my 3 laps, the first a bit of warm up, the second a bit faster and the third, what a blast. With the speed limit on the circuit being 70mph, down the back straight at 70mph (seemed a bit faster but I wasn’t looking at the speedo), over taking a Lamborghini, and it was over.

Back into the pits, my one and possibly only drive in a super car had ended. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely loved it!

I think I might have discovered a new career. Now if only there was an opportunity to present in front of an audience, drive fast cars, and travel around the world. Can you think of an opening?

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