By Trevor Little
June 08 2012
The concept of ‘brandless’ marketing proved of most interest to WTR’s blog readers in May. Our analysis was sparked by Ford’s new advertising campaign, which seemingly lacks any explicit reference to the brand at all, with the iconic logo and product names absent altogether.
Though counsel may feel uneasy that trademarks are not being used, ‘brandless’ marketing could have benefits if certain steps are taken. However, brand-lite strategies are not for everyone – the approach could be risky for those without enough fame to fall back on.
In second spot this month was the announcement of this year’s WTR Industry Awards winners. Among those honoured were teams from adidas, Mars and BMW, with Alan Drewsen picking up the Lifetime Achievement award and Microsoft’s Russell Pangborn named In-house Counsel of the Year. The winners were announced at an exclusive reception in Washington DC, and other dispatches filed during the INTA Annual Meeting also proved popular, particularly WTR’s assessment of the role trademarks play in value creation.
One story that has been featured prominently in the mainstream press – the Supreme Court’s refusal to review the decision of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia which prevented the renewal of Pernod Ricard’s HAVANA CLUB trademark registration in the United States – also quickly became the third most-read WTR blog in May.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Pernod Ricard speedily announced the August 2011 registration of the HAVANISTA trademark at the USPTO, and outlined its plans to expand into the US market when and if the trade embargo with Cuba is lifted. The announcement is a canny move by Pernod Ricard, simultaneously ensuring that press coverage of the Supreme Court decision focuses on its commercial response and also creating awareness of the new brand. While the battle for control of the HAVANA CLUB mark in the United States comes to an end, the fight for market share is yet to commence.
Elsewhere the online world featured prominently, with ICANN’s confirmation of June 13 as the gTLD reveal date, arguments over the organisation’s 'digital archery' gTLD batching proposal and debate on the online piracy provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership shaping up as the next battleground all making the top 10.
The top 10 trademark news stories for May were:
7. Chinese brands on the rise in Brandz top 100 – May 28
10. Online piracy debate shifts to new battleground – May 18
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