Own-it | Intellectual Property Know-How for Creative Businesses


The Character Design Factsheet

Published 02.02.12 at 10:23

Do you know how much a character design can be worth?

According to Forbes list of richest fictional characters Scrooge McDuck was the richest in 2011 with an estimated fortune of 44.1 Billion $.

OK, this is not really a serious figure as Forbes have based their rich-list on fictitious information. However, characters can make the creators or rights holders a small fortune through licensing deals. Licensing allows the right holder to control the use of the character for publications (comics, graphic novels, children's books etc.), animations, merchandising and branding. Therefore, it pays to be aware of IP rights you may have in your character - and even more important, how you can exploit them to make money.

Although we are not suggesting that you get filthy rich, we do suggest that you read our factsheet on character design so that you are prepared if somebody approaches you with an offer you can't resist. Licensing contracts in publishing, film production or merchandising are very complex documents, and therefore, do not sign such contracts without first seeking legal advice if you are not represented by an agent. Even a small mistake can cost you big money and you may unwittingly assign all rights in your character while thinking that you have retained some rights, which you can exploit

You can find various templates on licensing contracts in our contracts section but please seek legal advice before using them in the course of your business - they are templates and therefore, you must ensure that they are fit for your specific purpose.

Image by Brookeduckart - some rights reserved


Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.

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