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While ‘shanzhai’ companies have traditionally been regarded as a scourge on corporate innovation, a new report, published by UK think-tank Nesta, has urged a rethink observing that several of these shanzhai businesses have absorbed and adapted technology and successfully launched market-leading products. While negative perceptions of these companies may be slowly changing in some quarters, international brand owners are advised to stay current on their marketplace activities if they are to protect their brand in China strategically.
Experts highlighted opportunities and trends in brand licensing in the fashion industry during a session at this week’s Brand Licensing Europe convention in London. The insights shared during the session provide some helpful brand strategy pointers for trademark counsel.
Branding bloopers are not a new phenomenon. Over the years there have been several now notorious examples of the perils of global marketing as brands either choose inappropriate names for their target markets or suffer bad publicity when existing brands are translated into foreign languages. Fukushima Industries’ newest mascot now joins their ranks, serving as another cautionary tale to brands in Asia who may be targeting export markets.
It’s clear that Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for prime minister in India’s 2014 elections, has identified the power of brands. To date he has attracted a number of companies to his cause and, so far, a smartphone called Smart Namo has been launched as well as an action game called Modi Run in which the politician - depicted as a superhero - has to ’win‘ twelve states to emerge triumphant in his quest. While the benefits of attracting brands to a campaign are clear-cut for Modi’s team, the question of whether brand owners themselves should associate with the volatile business of politics is hazier.
Versace is to launch a range of products inspired by knock-off versions of the Italian company’s designs. While the fashion house is keen to portray the collection as highlighting the issue of counterfeits, it waits to be seen whether the impact on anti-counterfeiting efforts proves to be positive or negative.
ZTE has announced that it is now officially the smartphone of NBA team the Houston Rockets. It’s the Chinese company’s first American corporate sponsorship and a crucial part of ZTE’s goal of amassing significant market share beyond its domestic market. In terms of the lessons for other brands, industry experts attest that this is a strong move but one that should be leveraged carefully in order to maximise success.
Europe’s revised Directive on Tobacco Products took a big step towards implementation with today’s European Parliament plenary vote strongly backing the proposals and approving amendments that will impact the brand positioning on cigarette packets.
Although new research indicates that 73% of respondents in Hong Kong have purchased counterfeit products, more positive for brand owners is that the percentage that would do so again is dropping for certain industries. The findings provide practical takeaways for brand owners in other jurisdictions in terms of changing consumer attitudes towards fake goods.
WTR has previously tackled the advantages and pitfalls of working with celebrities in product endorsement deals. Last month we considered the celebrity perspective, following footballer Gareth Bale’s record-breaking transfer to Spanish La Liga side Real Madrid. WTR’s readers were intrigued by the question ‘how best to manage a brand like Bale?’, the story topping the league of most-read blogs in September.
Recent reports indicate that New Zealand winemakers are seeking GI protection for their labels. As wine consumption grows in emerging markets such as China and Russia, domestic producers are increasingly concerned about potential knock-offs being passed off as premium labels. However, while the wine industry considers using GI status as a way of fending off counterfeiters, a number of commentators have expressed scepticism over its practical benefits.
The news that Japanese company Suntory Beverage & Food is to purchase British brands Ribena and Lucozade for an estimated $2.1 billion from GSK has grabbed media headlines across the globe. The deal indicates that Asian companies are venturing forth more aggressively than ever in terms of expanding their footprint into new markets. However, Asian companies that are acquiring foreign brands should keep one or two crucial considerations in mind.
The Australian trademarks registrar has rejected Melbourne-based microbrewer Thunder Road Brewery’s attempt to wrest control of several heritage beer brands from Carlton & United Brewers (CUB). CUB’s success demonstrates the importance of having a trademark strategy that is fully aligned with the business’ overall commercial objectives.
India's Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion has clarified the government’s position with regard to foreign single-brand retailers’ sale of ‘sub-brands’. Brand owners expanding their presence in India after the relaxation of foreign direct investment rules should review their trademark strategies to ensure they have adequate protection in place to meet this requirement.
Recent research from the Luxury Institute has shed light on the attitudes of affluent consumers towards collaborations between high-end brands. While research participants indicated that they place high value on brand partnerships, they also emphasised the risk of brand dilution. The findings reiterate the key role for trademark counsel in joining forces with third-party brands.
The UK IP Bill proposed legislation that would introduce criminal sanctions for infringement of industrial design rights was passed yesterday by the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the UK Parliament. However, the potential criminalisation of certain instances of designs infringement has met with criticism from some sections of the IP community.
Yesterday WTR reported on the efforts of Chinese brands to expand internationally, and calls for them to ensure they maximise their IP protection to counter the risk of trademark squatters. Today we turn the tables and gaze inward following the publication of research that identifies the most powerful foreign brands in China with US companies dominating the list.
A recent study highlights how social media has rapidly increased in importance to the United States’ biggest brand owners in recent years. That can only mean one thing for trademark counsel...
Australia-based Treasury Wine Estates is looking to China to shore up its businesses and plans to open wine bars, restaurants and entertainment outlets. Brand consultants say the move to a brand-to-consumer model from business-to-business may be risky but is one - albeit not the only - route that brands looking to enter China should consider.
In a big week for plain packaging news, reports have emerged today that the UK government is postponing plans to push ahead with the regime. The move will be welcomed by brand owners, with reports emerging from Australia that its legislation is having some unexpected consequences.
A recent report estimates that the $13.4 billion Indian franchising industry could grow almost fourfold by 2017. The findings suggest vast opportunities for brand owners to take a stake in the country’s booming consumer market but trademark counsel will have to be vigilant to ensure that brands are protected when entering into franchise relationships.
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