Publicly traded companies spend on average 11% of their annual budget on marketing. The Gartner Research study which provided this figure states:
There have been some significant trademark disputes hitting the headlines in the last twelve months. In April 2019, lawyers for Erik Brunetti, owner of the popular brand FUCT, challenged the provisions of federal law that allows for “immoral or scandalous matter” to be refused trademark protection. Mr Brunetti believes his First Amendment rights are being infringed. And given the decision in Matel v Tam 582 U.S. ___ (2017) he may have a strong chance of success.
Everyone loves a bargain. There is something very satisfying about saying “I got it for only (fill in the cheap price)” when someone compliments you on your sassy new shoes or bag. And with the trade in counterfeit goods valued at US$917 billion a year, it is understandable that ordinary law-abiding consumers feel that resisting purchasing a ‘Chanel’ bag from a chap on a foreign beach won’t make any difference to the extent of the problem. Like global warming, the issue is too big and the damage too hidden to coerce people into changing their behaviour.
Something that struck TrademarkNow’s founders when they started the company in 2012, and myself too when I joined it three years later, was just how challenging it was for lawyers to buy access to professional trademark search tools.
So much investment goes into launching a new product or service. From development to marketing to sales, project management teams must be continuously alive to any roadblocks (and there are guaranteed to be many).
In February 2019, USPTO issued a warning to attorneys to beware of any foreign solicitation which offers to pay to use their information to file trademarks. The statement read:
Michael Jordan retired from basketball in 2003. That’s 16 years ago. However, thanks to the ‘Jordan’ brand operated by Nike, he still earns around $100 million a year. Football legend David Beckham left the sport in 2013, but somehow, I don’t think he is relying on a British government pension. He is raking in around $75 million per annum, thanks mainly to deals with H&M and Adidas.
Outside of the branding processes undertaken by trademark professionals, there exists a fundamental fallacy - everyone seems to think that they understand trademarks. From startups choosing to go it alone with their applications to others decrying the need for trademarks at all, confidence in innate knowledge and simplicity is at an all-time high.
Social media, whether you view it as friend or foe, invades every part of our lives and brands were quick to become part of that narrative. This creates a number of challenges for the companies involved. Standing out amongst all the noise being a case in point.
However, this is far from being the only challenge associated with the use of social media by brands of all sizes. Joe Quigley of Rivet LLC shares some insights:
It is the general perception that lawyers, whether in-house or private practice, often aren’t viewed in the role of a valuable strategic partner. Instead the legal department can be viewed as being an impediment to the business needs which must be worked around in order to succeed. Whilst undoubtedly the ability of the lawyer to prevent the business from taking a hit is appreciated, the rest of the time, the restrictions imposed by legal issues can chafe a bit.