IN your editorial (“A cobwebbed practice that is deserving of a red card”, The Herald, April 14) you attack the role of the Court of the Lord Lyon in protecting heraldic rights for no reason other than it is old. In the modern age intellectual property (IP), such as copyright, brand names, and trademarks, are of great commercial importance and value and so rightly enjoys the protection of law.

So important are these IP rights that currently Kilmarnock FC are threating to sue Brownings Bakery, over the naming rights for the famous Killie Pie for the allegedly unauthorised use of the "Killie" trademark. Heraldry is simply the oldest form of intellectual property and in Scotland we are fortunate in having a Lyon Court to protect the intellectual property in heraldic images. Is not a coat of arms at least as worthy of legal protection as the naming rights of a pie?

Ayr United would, rightly, be the first to complain if some manufacturer or even rival team used their brand name, trademark or strip without permission and all the Fiscal of the Lyon Court seeks to do is to prevent unauthorised use of heraldic devices. It will be a simple matter for Ayr United, or any other football team, to register appropriate arms with Lord Lyon, as indeed the SFA itself did many years ago, when it registered its familiar arms of a lion rampant surrounded by 11 thistles. Once Ayr United has registered arms of its own those arms will likewise enjoy the protection of Lyon Court.

The protection of coats of arms by law is no more irrational than legally protecting brand names, trademarks and football strips. In this era of devolution we should be proud that Scots law can provide a means to protect heraldic devices, unlike English law, which doesn’t. That the relevant law is ancient, merely shows it has been effective over the centuries, that a law is ancient and Scots should be matter of pride, not mockery.

Scott Crichton Styles,

School of Law, Taylor Building,

University of Aberdeen.