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Senior Partner
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Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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Dear Answer. UK, Before my father became ill and died in 2004

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Dear Answer. UK, Before my father became ill and died in 2004 he had a private conversation with me concerning some 'rights' he had bought for an historic building in our home town. He spoke about us colluding in a promotional T-shirt business and about the manufacture of other items, displaying the image of the building, we could sell in the tourism market. After his death, which came shortly afterwards, I almost forgot about our talk until a recent local article about the building caught my attention. It was bought by an individual in 2006 from the public company that owned it but following years of planning application wrangles, it is again to be sold at public auction. My questions are as follows: Would the death of my father negate ownership of 'rights' to anything? How might I find out what type of 'rights' these might have been? (I am sure he said it was a previously expired copyright to use the name of the building for promotional purposes, which is significant as the name is XXXXX XXXXX known, locally. There may also have been a book or some literature about the building he had purchased the rights to.) I am not my father's primary inheritor, as he married several times and died intestate (apparently) although his last wife also died in 2013 leaving her minimal estate to her own children. Phew! I hope this is not a complete turkey. If he owned the rights to anything, might I exploit them even though the building is owned by someone else? Would I need to re-purchase them if they are available? I am sure no-one else knew of our conversation or his purchase. I can't think of anything else to ask. I would be grateful for your best answer to this question.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
Hi thank you of your question. If your father bought any copyright or other intellectual property then his death would not extinguish the rights they would pass to his estate. However it does not sound as if you have much to go on here. It is not likely to be copyright which does not exist in buildings or for that matter in the name. He might have bought the right to use the name as a trade name or to exploit the brand. It is possible to get ssh a licence even if the trademark is unregistered. HoweverI am afraid intellectual property rights generally have to be transferred in writing so you need to find some evidence. In any event if it was a contract then it is likely that 10 years on any rights will be unenforceable. If it is in the form of deed you might have some chance of success as the limitation period for deeds is 12 years. the other issue is that if the building has been sold the rights to exploit the name may have lapsed at least against the new owner. They may be enforceable against the old owner but can you trace that owner.

I think in the absence of something in writing you are probably on a wild goose chase.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your prompt reply. I agree, it looks a bit of a fruitless pursuit. I am grateful for your time and information. Perhaps I will do a little more digging in case something more concrete crops-up. Thanks again.

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
Sure please com back if you get any further information
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience: Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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