Latin America Team of the Year: Grupo Televisa
It has been a year of change for the team at Grupo Televisa, with the IP function undergoing a reorganisation designed to strengthen its content protection efforts and facilitate the development of new business policies. Additionally, the use of external service providers has been streamlined in a bid to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Such efforts are an attempt to ensure that the department keeps pace with changing market conditions. The team is therefore evolving its strategies and taking a forward-looking approach to content protection, with the idea that increased availability both reduces infringement and the resources required to police it. A team spokesperson explains that the company seeks to make its content “as available as possible, so that our own platforms are the easiest way to access and promote our own businesses. We believe that content availability for potential consumers reduces risk of infringement. Even though a lot of industries are evolving, the media and content industry has definitely changed and we are more than aware that piracy prevails when consumers can’t get legal access to content. Therefore, providing customers with what they want through our platforms is one of the best ways to reduce it.”
Chief IP Counsel Gerardo Muñoz de Cote heads the IP department, aided by two senior legal counsels, six legal managers, two interns and two paralegals. Based in Mexico City, the team oversees all IP affairs worldwide, including trademark and brand protection, copyright, domain names, IP enforcement, content protection and online piracy, counterfeiting and unfair trade practices, information and communication technologies, and privacy and data protection. As well as such extensive responsibilities, the team manages a global network of 80 law firm partners, acting in over 95 jurisdictions, and a significant portfolio of rights. This includes 9,300 Mexican trademarks, 3,000 overseas marks, 3,800 copyright works, 2,400 domains and 2,400 reservations of rights.
“It is important to always seek new kinds of protection that optimise cost-effectiveness for the company’s assets, studying and evaluating worldwide trends in order to adjust the industry’s development and enhance protection for our IP rights,” the spokesperson explains, considering how the team manages to successfully manage such rights from a registration perspective. “We also update internal policies and guidelines referring to IP matters in order to improve best practices among the business units.”
This philosophy also extends to the company’s enforcement efforts: “Technological improvements are key; watermarks, fingerprinting and using all kind of tools to monitor and protect content from production and once it has been released certainly reduce the need to initiate actions or litigation.”
“We have been continuing to implement different schemes for anti-piracy services and our global intelligence network in order to prevent, track, monitor and stop illicit sharing of our content,” the spokesperson explains, reflecting further on enforcement activities undertaken over the past year. “We work with two different companies that provide us with these kinds of services. Specifically, we are taking a proactive approach to fighting online piracy, by monitoring our prime content across a wide array of channels, such as cyberlockers, on-demand video streaming and live video streaming sites, search engines and social media sites.”
At the heart of all these efforts are two key elements. The first is a truly nuanced understanding of threats and possible responses: “It is important to have a 360-degree strategy involving prevention and identification – we need to identify all necessary and core IP assets that need protecting. It is also essential to prevent unnecessary registrations and portfolios with no use. Finally, it is crucial to be alert and ready to implement the solutions for any legal contingency that may arise. It is easier to prevent and be proactive than to react once contingency is there.”
Second – and equally as important – is working with like-minded professionals. When asked what makes his department so successful, the spokesperson concludes: “Having passionate people, whose expertise is not only developed by daily practice but also by continuous education and involvement in new global trends for brand and IP protection.”