The Great Oyster Robbery

oyster.jpgHave you been mugged for your Oyster card? If you have, Transport for London (TfL) knows how you feel.What exactly was TfL thinking about five years ago when it brokered the deal with Transys, the supplier consortium that manages its Oyster card system?Let’s forget the software crashes, allegations of hacking, corrupted cards and security concerns. Transys paid for that this week when TfL cancelled its £100m contract.Yet, bizarrely, it could be TfL that ends up ruing the split most. Guess who owns the Oyster brand TfL has spent five years marketing and covering the Capital’s transport network with? Yep, you guessed it, Transys.So after giving out 17 million Oyster cards since 2003, TfL is now locked in talks with Transys over ‘how to ensure the continuation of the brand’. I’m sure a deal will be struck, mainly because it’s too palatable for one not to be, but it’s clear who holds all the, er, cards – and it isn’t TfL.Perhaps TfL’s chiefs need to take a trip up the Victoria Line to Kings Cross, turn right upon exit and pay a visit to the British Library Business & IP Centre and read up on how to protect their intellectual property.Needless to say, if you’re thinking of spending the next five years pushing a brand and banging out 17 million related products, make sure you own it!Image: Flickr

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