INTA Issues Brands Manifesto to Raise Awareness beyond the Intellectual Property Bubble

Published: September 24, 2019

Hadrien Valembois INTA Policy Officer, Europe

Hélène Nicora INTA Chief Representative Officer, Europe

This blog post was co-authored with INTA’s  Chief Representative Officer – Europe,  Hélène Nicora.  

What do European brands represent? How do they contribute to the environment or protect children’s safety? In a nutshell, why are they important to you?  

These are some of the questions that the International Trademark Association (INTA) is answering in its just-released Brands Manifesto. INTA developed the Manifesto to serve as a practical tool to raise awareness among European decision makers about what brands stand for and what benefit they generate for EU society as a whole.  TRUST.jpg

The Association’s release of the Manifesto comes against the background of the European elections of May 23-26, 2019, the new European Parliament’s legislature, and the new mandate of the European Commission for 2019-2024. It was born out of the necessity for brands and intellectual property (IP) professionals to reach beyond the IP “bubble” and to raise awareness among high-level EU decision makers and the general public.  

Therefore, INTA chose to structure the Manifesto using five keywords that resonate among European citizens, as attested by the results of the European elections that saw, among other outcomes, the rise of climate change as a top political issue as well as the unprecedented mobilization of European youth.  JOBS.jpg

1. Trust:  Trust is the most obvious link between brands and consumers.  Brands stand for the promise of consistent quality, enabling  consumers to make informed and quicker purchasing choices. When faced with shelves packed with countless variations of  the same product category, consumers will opt for the brands they trust, without having to analyze the different products first. Brands offer that knowledge and comfort, and may also provide an anchor with local communities.

SMES.jpg2. Jobs: Building on data from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), INTA is showcasing the contributions of EU brands to the economy: specifically, they generate 3 out of 10 jobs, provide 50 percent higher wages, and contribute €5.7 trillion annually to the economy

3. SMEs: Often ENVIRONMENT.jpgdescribed as the backbone of the EU economy (they make up 99% of it), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key because every major brand or company started as an entrepreneur or an SME. Think about Microsoft’s Bill Gates creating his first computer in his garage or Mark Zuckerberg developing Facebook in his dorm. None of this could have happened without IP protection, which helps differentiate SMEs’ products and services from other competitors in the market.Brands are a company’s business card-the way it is known to the outside world. But one out of three SMEs face a violation of their IP rights, and they often lack the knowledge or resources, human and/or financial, to protect their brand.  

4. Safety: The safety aspect of brand protection, although  unfortunately less known, is nonetheless a concerning one: while genuine branded products have to comply with EU safety requirements, counterfeit products, by their nature, do not. Therefore, fakes can be hazardous to the health and safety of EU citizens and lead to severe illness, injuries, and even death. This issue is affecting every sector. Think about fake toys (1 out of 10 of toys in the EU) with lead paint that children put in their mouths, or a fake airbag that explodes while a car is driving on the highway.  

5. Environment: How do brands contribute to environmental protection and the fight against climate change, a key concern of  European citizens and, notably, the youth? The link between brands and the environment is clear: 40 percent of European online consumers would pay more for brands that are eco-friendly and socially responsible; and 55 percent of young consumers choose to buy brands with those same values. Brand reputation is key. Consumers’ increasingly conscious purchasing choices prompt brands to take responsible actions involving the environment and society.

By committing to brand protection, EU businesses, decision makers, and the public protect major aspects of the EU identity: the EU economy and jobs, SMEs, consumers’ health and safety, and the environment.  

INTA is using the Manifesto to support and promote INTA’s six concrete recommendations for IP priorities for the EU  Parliament and Commission’s 2019-2024 mandate:

  1. Create a high-level IP Coordinator’s position at the European Commission;  
  2. Position the EU as an IP champion on the international scene;  
  3. Launch and support an EU-wide IP education campaign targeting consumers, youngsters, SMEs, and policy makers;  
  4. On the legislative front, initiate EU legislative reform on designs and work on the implementation of the EU trademark system;  
  5. Ensure that the EU Intellectual Property Office continues providing a high-quality and efficient public service to its users; and
  6. Promote the creation of national IPR enforcement centers and specialized IP units within police departments in EU member states.

INTA is distributing the Manifesto to policy makers and will communicate its messages to stakeholders and the public through social media and other means.
For more information, please contact INTA staff Hélène Nicora, Chief Representative Officer””Europe, at [email protected], or Hadrien Valembois, Policy Officer””Europe, at [email protected].