- General subjective understanding of IP has increased among the general public, with the exception of 15- to 24-year-olds
- 44% of citizens surveyed believe IP only benefits the “elites”
- Citizens widely believe buying counterfeit goods is detrimental to the economy but increasingly accept purchasing counterfeits if price and availability become an issue, particularly among 15- to 24-year-olds.
On March 23, 2017, the European Union Intellectual Property Office released the study European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behaviour. This was a follow-up to the first study, which was carried out in 2013. The survey gauged the degree to which EU citizens understand and respect IP rights. Constructed similarly to the previous one, this survey was based upon a total of 26,555 interviews with EU citizens 15-years-old and older from each of the 28 EU Member States, with 80% of the questionnaire being identical to the old study and 20% being new questions as to allow for further comparison and to give an updated analysis. The general assessment of this survey echoes that of the one made in 2013: overall, Europeans seem to grasp the economic impact of IP rights and the damage caused by infringements. However, there is room for improvement among younger generations.
No statistic highlights this grasp more than the general perception on the economic value of IP. Nearly every respondent—97% of them—agree it is important that inventors, creators and performing artists protect their rights and be paid for their work. However, only two thirds of respondents recognize the role of IP protection in economic stability.
This anomaly can be contributed to the discrepancy among generations in the awareness and understanding of IP. The general subjective understanding of IP has increased in Europe. The number of citizens with a good understanding increased 2% from 2013 to 75%. Every generation, except the youngest surveyed, either has seen an increase in understanding or has held steady. The level of general understanding among 15- to 24-year-olds decreased from 68% to 64%.
As the survey describes, EU citizens come to this conclusion in part because IP remains an abstract concept for EU citizens. Forty-four percent of respondents think IP protection mainly benefits the “elites”— more specifically big companies and famous artists. There is an understanding of the importance of IP rights, but who those rights benefit is not as comprehensive.
Respondents demonstrated an understanding of the damages caused by infringements, by stating that the negative impact on the economy would be the greatest discouragement for purchasing counterfeit goods. The survey posed four arguments against the purchase of counterfeit products: such purchases have a negative impact on the economy, encourage illegal trafficking, threaten public health, and discourage innovation. The negative impact on economy was the top argument against buying counterfeits that was mentioned, by 78% of respondents. Moreover, 70% believe nothing justifies the purchase of counterfeit goods and 78% believe buying those goods ruins businesses and jobs.
Despite the condemnation of counterfeits, sales of counterfeits are increasing. This is mainly a result of price and availability. While only 27% of respondents said they find it acceptable to purchase counterfeit products when the original or authentic product is too expensive—up 3 points since the 2013 study—the key demographic, 15- to 24-year-olds, seem to be less convinced of the damages associated with infringements; of respondents accessing content from illegal sources or purchasing counterfeit goods, 15- to 24-year-olds are the leading demographic in both respects. Sixty-three percent of respondents, 72% of 15- to 24-year-olds, attribute the behavior to prices and say the availability of affordable products is the main reason why they would stop this behavior.
Based on all the information from the survey, the EUIPO concludes the support for IP rights continues to be high among EU citizens, but there are services not being provided to meet the expectations of some demographics, especially the younger ones, in terms of the price and availability.
The full study and related materials can be accessed here. The study was presented by the EUIPO Executive Director Antonio Campinos to members of the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on March 23, 2017, in Brussels, followed by questions and comments from the deputies. A webcast of the presentation is available here (starting at 12:02:45).
On May 1, 2017, I (Pooja Dodd, a member of the Unreal Campaign Committee), hosted a Student Engagement Event at the Tagore International School, New Delhi. The 270 students who attended the session were curious and engaged in the presentation.
At the beginning of the session, I spoke briefly about INTA, the objectives of Unreal Campaign Committee, and the importance of understanding the problems associated with counterfeiting. We then discussed the basics of trademarks and their importance for consumers as well as companies. At the conclusion of the presentation, I detailed some of the dangers that arise from counterfeiting and specifying how the students can help overcome counterfeiting issues.
The students were interactive throughout the event, and some even shared their own experiences and encounters with counterfeit products. The session was followed by a short, fun quiz.
The students seemed to understand the gravity of the counterfeiting problem and were excited at the prospect of educating their parents about it.
To get involved in the Unreal Campaign, please visit the landing page here. Thank you to our 2017 sposnors that make these events possible.
On April 6 and 7, 2017, the Unreal Campaign was presented at Prescott Anglo American School and Max Uhle German Peruvian School in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru.
This was the second time that the Unreal Campaign presented its program in Peru. Both schools are private and were founded in 1965 and 1956, respectively. Currently, these two schools are among the only three institutions that offer the International Baccalaureate in Arequipa.
Mr. Jean-Carlo Costa and Ms. Luisa Alvarez (INTA members and associate lawyers at BARLAW-Barrera & Asociados in Lima, Peru) conducted the presentations for more than 400 students ranging in age from 14- to 17-years old. The audience also included ten teachers.
Each hour-long presentation included a display of the Unreal Campaign learning materials and three Unreal Campaign Spanish videos.
Students showed their interest in trademark protection, enforcement, and the consequences of buying counterfeit goods, as counterfeits make up such a huge market in the country. They were particularly attentive when the presenters shared their own personal experiences as lawyers regarding counterfeit goods and the way these goods are spotted, attacked, and taken off the market. Students were particularly surprised to find out the amount of money that circulates within the counterfeiting market that could otherwise benefit the community in so many ways.
Both sessions were highly interactive, as students and teachers traded their ideas and opinions on the importance of trademarks and the drawbacks of manufacturing, selling, and buying counterfeit products.
On this second visit, we were pleased to find that students now had a preference for buying genuine products and had a good basis of understanding how to spot fake items. However, most students were not aware of the dangers of buying counterfeit products and did not understand the way that specific items may even harm their health or cause terrible accidents.
Students particularly enjoyed guessing which products in a display were counterfeit and which were authentic. Teachers thanked the presenters for their initiative and stressed the importance of such events, noting that schools are currently developing their own programs of “awareness on academic probity.”
Finally, the presenters invited students and teachers to join and follow Unreal Campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
We will continue to present the Unreal Campaign learning materials in other Peruvian schools throughout this year.
To learn more about hte Unreal Campaign, contact INTA's Senior Communications Coordinator, Laura Heery at email@example.com.
Thank you to our 2017 Unreal Campaign sponsors:
On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Brunei took its first tentative steps toward ridding itself of counterfeit products when three branches of a local department store were simultaneously raided in Bandar Seri Begawan for over 1,000 counterfeit razors and razor blades products.
The raid for the counterfeit consumer goods, believed to be the first anticounterfeiting action in the sultanate, was carried out by 26 Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) officers from the Commercial Crime Unit, including three Crime Scene Unit teams, in response to a complaint filed by the relevant trademark owner.
The targeted shops were alleged to be selling counterfeit disposable razors and razor blades bearing an international and well-known brand. If convicted, the alleged perpetrators would be facing up to five years’ imprisonment and a maximum BN $100,000 (US $72,000) fine under section 100 of the Trade Marks Act, Chapter 98.
During the raid, the police officers seized 1,106 of various imitation products, while representatives from the Brunei branch of Singapore-based law firm Harry Elias & Partnership LLP (HEP) observed and assisted in the operation.
The raid was also in line with the RBPF Commercial Crime Unit’s move to expand their operations in order to more aggressively crack down on traders peddling counterfeit products and enforce intellectual property laws in the country beginning this year.
At the same time, HEP had also been expanding its IP portfolio in recent months as it looks to increase its IP-related activities in the oil-rich country.
With the Bruneian government eager to woo foreign direct investment in recent years in an effort to diversify the economy away from its heavy dependence on the oil and gas sector, the move toward clearing out branded fakes currently perforating through the local market could be seen as a vital step in increasing the attractiveness of Brunei as a potential destination for foreign companies while also raising confidence among local consumers.
The INTA Young Practitioners Committee hosted a panel discussion and reception on March 22, 2017, called “Trademarks and Video Games (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lanham Act).” The event was held at the social mobile game company Zynga in San Francisco, California, and featured as panelists Deborah Davis Han (Senior Counsel at Zynga and Chair of the INTA Young Practitioners Committee), Vineeta Gajwani (Senior IP Counsel at Electronic Arts), Frank Goldberg (Associate General Counsel of IP at Zynga), and Ira Lam (General Counsel at Kabam). The presentation was held in Zynga’s in-house movie and gaming theater. The event began with an overview of INTA and the Young Practitioners Committee, with the leaders pointing out some of the opportunities for young trademark lawyers within INTA.
Following the INTA introduction, the panel engaged in a lively discussion about the role of trademarks in video games, sharing some of the issues they have faced in advising their companies on how to navigate the relatively sparse and murky judicial precedent on trademark use in video games. Among the unique challenges in the video game space is the ever-changing nature of the games, even after consumer purchase. The panel highlighted the “Rogers test” for protecting trademark use in works of creative expression, established in the case Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994 (2d Cir. 1989). Under this test, courts determine whether a trademark has “no artistic relevance to the underlying work” or, if there is some artistic relevance, whether the trademark “explicitly misleads as to the source or content of the work.” Rogers, 875 F.2d at 999. The panel noted that while this case allows for relatively expansive creative leeway in artistic works in general, it is not adopted by all courts, and certain concepts remain particularly complicated in the video game space.
Certain challenges facing the panelists include registering the name or title of a video game as a trademark, given that the title of a movie or book is not registrable, for example. Further, beyond the title are issues with respect to actual objects or scenes featured within the game itself. Interesting examples include the use of depictions of a tommy gun in a mobster game and of the Eiffel Tower or the Space Needle as a backdrop for a game scene. The panel shared experiences and war stories from their dynamic careers to paint the scene of the interplay between trademark and copyright law, as well as the right of publicity, as considerations for an attorney in the gaming space.
After the panel discussion, the group continued the conversation over food and drink at the reception in Zynga's cafeteria, which was fittingly outfitted with arcade games. Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP, Cooley LLP, Hanson Bridgett LLP, Owen Wickersham & Erickson P.C., Shartsis Friese LLP, and Sideman & Bancroft LLP co-sponsored this entertaining and informative event.
Where has the time gone? After five days of meetings, educational programming, and receptions, I cannot believe the 139th Annual Meeting in Barcelona has come to an end. Thank you to everyone that has helped make this event such a success, especially the 2017 Annual Meeting Project Team and Co-Chairs Jomarie B. Fredericks, Rotary International (United States), and Slobodan Petosevic, PETOSEVIC (Luxembourg).
As I walked around the Fira Gran Via, it was great to see friends reconnecting, registrants exchanging business cards, and attendees reading the INTA Daily. INTA’s Annual Meeting is the crescendo of the trademark community’s year—and I’m proud to be part of such a dedicated, hard-working, and fun community.
Although our time in Barcelona has concluded, there are still a lot more upcoming events in 2017—so save the dates on your calendar!
- Trademark Administrators and Practitioners Meeting (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, September 17–19)
- Free Trade Zone Workshops (Multiple dates and locations)
- Changing Landscape of Latin America (Cartagena, Colombia, October 2–3)
- Leadership Meeting (Washington, D.C., USA, November 7–10)
- Brand Authenticity (Berlin, Germany, November 30–December 1)
If you are still in the Fira Gran Via, secure your spot for next year’s Annual Meeting before 2:00 pm today and save 10%! Visit the Registration Desk to learn more.
Join me this evening at the Grand Finale at Barceloneta Beach to toast ourselves for a successful 2017 Annual Meeting!
During the Brands and Fashion Conference in New York City in March 2017, we sat down with INTA President Joe Ferretti (PepsiCo, Inc., United States), INTA President Elect Tish Berard (Hearts On Fire Company LLC, United States), and INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo, to discuss the Association’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan.
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I am excited to welcome everyone to Barcelona and INTA’s 139th Annual Meeting, the largest ever with over 10,500 registrants! In addition to the Saturday educational events that kicked off the meeting, the Board also held its second meeting of the year.
As part of its full agenda, the Board received an update on INTA’s Moot Court Competitions. The Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition, now in its 27th year, is an annual event honoring Saul Lefkowitz and introduces law students to important issues arising in United States trademark and unfair competition law. We are delighted that law students in the Asia-Pacific region will soon have the opportunity to participate in INTA’s Asia-Pacific Moot Court Competition launching in Singapore this September.
After hearing from William Rava and Peter Brody, members of the Legislation and Regulation Committee, the Board of Directors approved a resolution calling for an amendment to the Lanham Act to include a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm in actions brought under the Act.
Finally, the Board heard from the 2017 Brand Restrictions Response Presidential Task Force Co-Chairs Burkhart Goebel and Kathryn Barrett Park. The Task Force’s primary objectives are to examine the various shapes and forms of brand restrictions, such as plain packaging, standardized packaging, and laws introduced to ban or reduce the use of characters (which are trademarks) on packaging. This Task Force will look at these types of restrictions and come up with ideas about how INTA can look to address them on a proactive basis. We look forward to receiving the Task Force’s final report and recommendations later this year.
The first day of the Annual Meeting was a productive one for the Board and we look forward to the rest of the meeting being equally productive and enjoyable for everyone.
INTA is pleased to announce the inception of the Tomorrow’s Leader Award—an award designed to both feature and inspire the next generation of intellectual property lawyers. The award is meant to enhance the growth and development of recipients within INTA and to provide a tailored mentoring and committee membership experience to accelerate their contribution to the trademark community. The Tomorrow’s Leader Award will recognize outstanding performances within an impressive class of committed, high-performing young practitioners who have already demonstrated an ability to excel.
Two young professionals with less than five years of experience each will receive recognition for their demonstration of early leadership stature in the IP industry. Qualified candidates should be recommended by well-established professionals and should articulate how they have distinguished themselves professionally and how they plan to advance their career from here forward. Award recipients will be automatically placed onto an INTA committee, be given a mentor within the INTA leadership structure, and be offered free-of-charge admittance to INTA’s 2017 Leadership Meeting and 2018 Annual Meeting.
INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo will pronounce the winner at the Leadership Meeting in November. The application period will be open July–September 2017.
I am excited to be welcoming everyone to the 139th Annual Meeting in Barcelona, Spain. With more than 10,400 registrants from more than 150 countries, this is the largest and most diverse Annual Meeting in INTA history!
I encourage all registrants, over the next five days, to take advantage of everything the Annual Meeting and the beautiful city of Barcelona have to offer. All INTA activities will take place at the Fira Gran Via—this is where everyone will be! This year’s meeting includes a fantastic program featuring more than 300 customized educational sessions, 35 general educational sessions, more than 225 table topics, 20+ networking opportunities, and more than 100 committee meetings. The program covers pertinent trademark-related topics, including anticounterfeiting, data protection, new gTLDs, social media, and trademark protection in regional trade agreements, to name but a few.
A couple of highlights to mention: INTA has expanded the Anticounterfeiting Workshop to two days of dedicated programming for corporate members and government officials. New this year, the Lunch and Learn series, which features dynamic and innovative speakers from beyond the world of trademarks, is intended to bring a new dimension and perspective to our IP discussions. Come hungry…for food and insight! Also on Tuesday, at 3:15 pm, join us for an open discussion with IP Offices, focusing on electronic filings and transactions, customer education initiatives, and more.
Of course, I hope everyone has marked their calendar for the Opening Ceremony, this Sunday at 4:00 pm. I’ll be speaking alongside INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo and Annual Meeting Co-Chairs Jomarie Fredericks and Slobodan Petosevic. I’m personally excited to hear the keynote address from Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Spain’s Minister of Education, Culture and Sport. Mr. Méndez de Vigo will share with us his thoughts on the future of Europe and IP—a very timely discussion.
To conclude the week, we’ll all loosen our ties and let our hair down at the Grand Finale, taking place on Wednesday evening on Barceloneta Beach. It will be a beautiful Barcelona night to conclude what promises to be a successful week of education, networking, and fun!
And to those of you who are attending your first Annual Meeting: Take advantage of everything! Spain may be the home of the siesta, but there will be plenty of time to sleep once what is sure to be the busiest week for you this year has concluded! More important, remember that INTA is a community. This is my 15th Annual Meeting, and more than anything, it feels like home! Welcome to the INTA family!