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Membership and Committees
2011 Annual Meeting
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Learn How to Make the Most of Product Placement

Following the release of the Steven Spielberg classic E.T. in 1982, sales of REESE’S PIECES candy increased by 65%. This is one example of product placement done correctly, said panelists during the In-House Practitioners Workshop at INTA.

With the advent of technologies such as TIVO and digital video recorders, more brands are making deals with TV and movie studios to integrate their products into programming in order to ensure their ads don’t get fast-forwarded.

Companies spent $6.25 billion on product placement in 2009, said Judy McCool of INTA member company Home Box Office, Inc. But McCool said that brand integration in the media is “an art form” and must be approached with caution.Brand owners who manage to seamlessly integrate with “emotionally engaging” forms of media could see results like REESE’S PIECES—but there are many risks to consider.

Michael Sirota of Lion Resources said that films or TV shows which include too many product placements can be a turn-off for viewers by making the content seem over-commercialized. Other risks include the lack of control brand owners have once they agree to product placement deals, particularly in the case of reality TV programming.

Hollywood Producer Anthony Dominici provided his perspective as Executive Producer of shows such as Extreme Makeover Home Edition and America’s Next Top Model. “It’s a negotiation process,” said Dominici, responding to a question about how he deals with brand owners who ask for too much control over the content of a show. “I try to make the integration process organic,” said Dominici, adding that he often cannot promise brands what they ask.


In-House Practitioners Reception

Annual Meeting attendees gathered for a reception—available to Corporate/In-House Practitioners—where they took advantage of an exclusive opportunity to network and benchmark with industry peers from around the globe.


When it Comes to Social Media, Normal Rulesfor Trademark Enforcement Don’t Apply

Aggressively enforcing the letter of the law in the social media world isn’t always the brightest idea, according to Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley, who presented the keynote address at the In-House Practitioners Luncheon.

Think back to the extensive coverage of BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. One speculator registered an unofficial Twitter handle @BPGlobalPR, which struck a chord with the public with its parody of BP’s efforts at brand management. At one stage, BP asked the account holder to make it clearer that the handle was not official. “It was not an outrageous request,” says Lemley. The request sparked outrage, and
only served to swell followers of the unofficial handle. This is a good example of why trademark owners have to be careful “not to overreach,” says Lemley. Even if the trademark owner is within its rights to make a certain action, it can have disastrous consequences for brand management.

Social media is about everyone having the chance to chip in, which scares some trademark owners and can lead to them trying to exert control over how their brand is discussed, which can “lead to problems,” as Lemley puts it. “It turns out to be difficult to enforce in that context, without creating a backlash against the trademark owner.”

The Stanford professor offered another example of how mistakes in the online space can damage brands and turn previously unknown sites into a cause célèbre. Surprisingly, the example involved the king of social media—Facebook. Two Texans set up a site called Lamebook, which describes itself as “a fun humor blog that allows us to all share and marvel at the funny, ridiculous, and outright crazy posts that can be found on your favorite social networking site.” Facebook took exception to the site, although Lamebook was the first to actually sue. “Facebook sued for trademark infringement, and gave the site a lot of publicity,” says Lemley.

Why have so many brands keep tripping up in the social media world? Lemley has his own theory: “I think that sometimes outside counsel recommend an aggressive approach, but the problem is they do it without thinking about the publicity.”


Q&A with Tiki Dare, Managing Counsel (Trademark & Copyright), Oracle Corporation

What do you find most valuable about the INTA Annual Meeting?
Meeting in person with our international counsel enhances our communications during the rest of the year. Building strong relationships and a common understanding of our goals helps drive the results we want for our trademark portfolio. Developing a strong network of peers makes any practitioner more valuable to her or his company.

How do you justify your company’s INTA membership and your Annual Meeting attendance?
The ability to meet with outside counsel from so many different countries during a single trip makes the Annual Meeting extremely cost effective. The content is also directly relevant to my day-to-day trademark practice.


Q&A with Chris Turk, Assistant General Counsel, The H.D. Lee Company Inc.

Why do you attend the INTA Annual Meeting?

As in-house counsel, I work with dozens of law firms—perhaps 50 or more on a regular basis—both in the US and abroad. The ability to have face to face meetings, particularly with foreign associates, is invaluable.

How do you justify your company’s INTA membership and your Annual Meeting attendance?
Membership on an INTA committee enables my company to have its voice heard in the trademark community.

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