The Pitch Centre

New biz is exciting, but it pays to be careful you don't give all your ideas away for nothing. We understand the pitch process and protecting your agency's work when it comes to pitching is just one of the ways we can help.

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We can help you with some of the complexities of the pitching process. Not with the emotional stuff but with the nitty gritty. And there's a lot to think about. Do you know the size of the shortlist? Have you asked for a financial contribution? Do you know how to protect your IP rights and confidential ideas and concepts? The Pitch Centre is where you can get all the support you need.

Many people get confused between intellectual property rights, such as copyright, on the one hand, and ideas and concepts on the other. Copyright will automatically exist in all literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works. So, for example, any original designs, drawings and illustrations you present on a pitch will be protected by copyright. However, copyright does not protect ideas or concepts (or, usually, strap lines) and you will need to protect these as your agency’s confidential information. Take these 4 simple steps to help protect your agency's work.

Step 1

Enter into a Pre-pitch NDA with the client. It’s a mutual agreement which means that both parties undertake not to disclose any of the other’s confidential information. Importantly, it makes it clear that the agency’s pitch materials are confidential, belong to the agency and cannot be used unless the agency wins the pitch and a future services agreement is entered into with the client.

This is one of the best steps an agency can take to legally protect its pitch materials.

Step 2

Date all material produced and keep a record of who produced it. Conserve all working drafts.

Step 3

Include a clear notice on all pitch work such as:

“All information, including concepts and ideas, contained in this document has been created by and belongs to [name of agency]. All such information is strictly confidential and may not be used for any purpose without the written consent of the [name of agency]. © [name of agency]. [year]. All rights reserved.”

Step 4

Consider registering the pitch work online with the IPA Pitch Protection Scheme. Although doing so does not give your agency any rights, it can be helpful evidence to help you show when you created the work and registered it with us if there is a future dispute with a potential client. As we are currently updating the IPA Pitch Protection Scheme, you can email: webhelpdesk@ipa.co.uk with the following details:

  • Pitch title
  • Client name
  • Product
  • Producer's name 
  • Key concept

All registrations receive an ' IPA certificate of registration' which can be attached to the work submitted on a pitch. 

For more information see the IPA/ISBA industry-agreed guidelines at The Good Pitch and view The 6 Principles .