Sony pivots to creativity in IP

A “Focus on Creativity:” What Sony’s Pivot Says About Changing the Direction of Your IP

May 31, 2024

Japanese electronics and entertainment company, Sony, first gained its claim to fame with its modern and exciting electronic devices: cameras, game consoles, phones, and more. But in recent years, they’ve begun to move towards the entertainment industry. By acquiring EMI Music Publishing, they set themselves up as a music giant. Their ownership over the movie rights for Spider-man has brought massive success to the character, as well as some media conflicts with Marvel and Disney. 

In March of this year, CEO Kenichiro Yoshida announced that Sony was moving away from “gadgets” and towards a focus on “creativity,” including media such as movies, music, and video games. What brought about this decision and what does it say about your freedom to change direction with your intellectual property?

The Shift From Gadgets to Entertainment

At the time that Sony came into the forefront, it was a leader when it came to electronic devices. Today, however, the electronics market is absolutely saturated. Competitors can release electronic gadgets just as quickly or more quickly, and often at a cheaper price. If they’re a cheaper quality, it doesn’t stop the flow of the sales. In order to maintain Sony’s success, it became necessary to make a change. Since they had already begun branching out into entertainment, it made sense to focus on that element of their IP. 

Going forward, Yoshida’s hope is that Sony will become a leader in creative endeavors like video games based on human athlete’s movements, 3D movies and computer games. In the world of entertainment, quality is essential. Changing focus to creative projects allow Sony to stay on top without being outdone by cheap competition.

Protecting Your IP As You Change Direction

You can’t always predict the direction your business will take over the course of your life. If your brand is successful, it will likely shift and evolve with the times in order to stay current. This means the products and services you put out will change, and so will your intellectual property.

So what can you do to protect your intellectual property as you change direction? New registrations for copyrights and trademarks are a must when you create new artwork or new brand elements. You often cannot modify a trademark, but you can file a new trademark registration if your brand elements become distinctly changed. Patents for new products are just as important. 

Sometimes changing direction involves acquisition of new intellectual property rights, as was the case with Sony. Consider again Sony’s ownership of the movie rights to Spiderman. By purchasing the movie rights, Sony does not control Spiderman as a whole. They do, however, own any movies featuring Spiderman that may be made. When you acquire new IP rights through a purchase, you will have to protect and enforce those rights, as well.

Most importantly, you’ll need a good intellectual property lawyer, like those at Garcia-Zamor. We can take care of all of your copyright and trademark registrations, patents, manage the contracts for any acquisitions, and so much more. We make intellectual property easy, no matter what directions your brand might take.