WTR Industry Awards 2018: the shortlist revealed

WTR Industry Awards 2018: the shortlist revealed

Asia-Pacific Team of the Year

  • Chivas Brothers
  • Honeywell International
  • LG Display
  • New Balance
  • Warner Bros Entertainment

Europe, Middle East and Africa Team of the Year

  • Groupon
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Mondelēz International
  • PUMA
  • Superdry

Latin America Team of the Year

  • adidas
  • Grupo Televisa
  • Sky International
  • Walmart
  • Whirlpool

North America Team of the Year

  • Amazon.com
  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
  • Nintendo of America
  • Velcro Companies

Fashion, Cosmetics and Luxury Goods Team of the Year

  • L'Oréal
  • Maus Frères
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Superdry
  • Swarovski

Financial and Professional Services Team of the Year

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • American International Group
  • BDO Unibank
  • Citigroup
  • Visa

Food, Beverages and Tobacco Team of the Year

  • Arla Foods
  • Lindt & Sprüngli AG
  • Mars
  • Mondelēz International
  • PepsiCo

Healthcare and Life Sciences Team of the Year

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Gilead Sciences
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Novartis Pharma
  • Sandoz International

Household and Consumer Goods Team of the Year

  • American Greetings
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Spectrum Brands
  • The Clorox Company
  • Velcro Companies

Internet and Telecommunications Team of the Year

  • AT&T Services
  • Deutsche Telekom AG
  • Google
  • Sky International
  • Verizon Communications

Not-for-Profit Organisation Team of the Year

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
  • Rotary International
  • Scotch Whisky Association
  • The American Red Cross
  • The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH

Retail Team of the Year

  • 7-Eleven
  • Groupon
  • Margaritaville Enterprises
  • Starbucks
  • Target

Software and Online Services Team of the Year

  • Adobe Systems
  • Amazon.com
  • Facebook
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Rovio Entertainment

Sports, Entertainment and Media Team of the Year

  • adidas
  • ESPN
  • Netflix
  • New Balance
  • World Wrestling Entertainment

Technology and Consumer Electronics Team of the Year

  • ABB
  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Microsoft
  • Western Digital

Travel and Leisure Team of the Year

  • Airbnb
  • Expedia
  • Hard Rock International
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Wyndham Worldwide

Vehicles and Transport Team of the Year

  • American Airlines
  • BMW
  • Daimler AG
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Jaguar Land Rover

In-House Counsel of the Year: the nominees

Dana Brown Northcott, Amazon.com

This year, on Brand Finance’s Global 500 list, Amazon overtook Apple and Google to be named the world’s most valuable brand. Central to its success has been the diversification in offerings – with the company bolstering real-world products and services, in addition to online, streaming and cloud. As associate general counsel, intellectual property at the company, Northcott’s role is therefore a diverse one, involving oversight of the company’s trademarks, domains and generic top-level domain (gTLD) work. The latter has resulted in her working tirelessly to engage with governments in a bid to secure the ‘.amazon’ TLD. One nominator observed that she handles a hefty workload “with incredible energy, grace and charm”, while another described her as “truly accomplished in-house counsel”.

Elena M Grimme, Microsoft

As assistant general counsel and head of the trademark group at Microsoft, which is responsible for the company’s worldwide global portfolio, Elena M Grimme oversees all the clearance, prosecution and enforcement work related to brands such as Microsoft, Windows, Xbox, Skype and Minecraft, and also drives the company’s trademark policy efforts around the world. Described as “a tremendous trademark lawyer, manager and industry leader”, she operates at the cutting edge of trademark practice, where legal, technology and creative demands intersect, often requiring an inventive approach to trademark practice. One nominator observed: “I am continually impressed by Elena’s creative and strategic thinking in this regard.” Grimme is also an active
member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and serves on its board of directors.

Kat Johnston, Facebook

Described as “the glue that holds the Facebook trademark team together”, Kat Johnston leads the company’s endeavours across multiple brands, overseeing the brand strategy for – among others – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus VR. In 2017 the company continued to expand its offerings, for instance unveiling a new video-on-demand service – Facebook Watch. As a result of such brand expansions, the company boasted a 45% rise in year-on-year brand value on the latest Brand Finance Global 500 list and broke into
the top five most powerful brands. “Innovative in her approach and exceptional in her results”, Johnston’s “tremendous leadership and strategic counsel” have helped drive the company’s brand success. One nominator concluded: “Kat has handled an increase in business demands and risk with aplomb. She’s a true professional deserving of our admiration and recognition.”

Patrick Flaherty, Verizon Communications

The year 2017 was a particularly busy one for Verizon, which completed a $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s internet business, purchased drone operations company Skyward and completed the $1.8 billion buy-out of XO Communications. Such commercial activity inevitably results in an avalanche of trademark work, which Flaherty – who one nominator described as possessing “a perfect balance of legal acumen with practical business savvy sensibilities” – and his colleagues took in their stride. In addition to overseeing the company’s trademark and domain name enforcement, licensing, prosecution and clearance work across different technology sectors, Flaherty still manages to make time to participate in industry events. As well as being identified as “a dynamic and innovative attorney”, one nominator concluded: “He has consistently impressed us with his intellect and keen, no-nonsense focus and approach to real-life legal disputes and considerations.”

Nicholas Studler, Lindt & Sprüngli AG

Described by one nominator as “one of the best in the IP field”, as head of intellectual property at Lindt & Sprüngli, Studler is responsible for the management, licensing and protection of the group’s global IP portfolio, encompassing trademarks, domains, designs and patents. His lean team also supports the marketing function’s efforts as it seeks to maintain brand presence and launch new lines (in this regard, 2017 was a banner year – the company achieved sales worth Sfr4 billion for the first time in its 175-year history). Considering Studler’s efforts over the past year, one nominator concluded: “One could not find a sweeter (no pun intended) client to work with – always courteous, supportive, motivating and encouraging, while simultaneously remaining professional and extremely hard working.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

J Thomas McCarthy

J Thomas McCarthy is a senior professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and founding director of the McCarthy Institute of Intellectual Property and Technology Law. He has practised, written and taught in the field of trademarks and unfair competition for over 50 years and is the author of the seven-volume Trademarks and Unfair Competition.  Now in its fifth edition, the treatise has been in print for 45 years and has been cited as authority in over 5,000 judicial decisions, including 13 US Supreme Court cases. McCarthy is also the author of the two-volume treatise The Rights of Publicity and Privacy and the reference book McCarthy's Desk Encyclopedia of Intellectual Property. He was a member of the American Law Institute Advisory Committee involved in drafting the 1995 Restatement of the Law of Unfair Competition and also of the Trademark Review Commission, which drafted the 1989 revisions to the Lanham Act, and he has served for many years on the editorial board of The Trademark Reporter. He is currently an
of counsel consultant with Morrison & Foerster.

The WTR Industry Awards are designed to recognise the vital work performed by in-house trademark counsel and to identify those teams and individuals performing their functions to the highest possible standards.

The list of nominees is the result of four months of extensive research. During that time, World Trademark Review surveyed its readers and selected members of the global trademark community for nominations across key industry categories. The World Trademark Review team analysed the recommendations, supplemented by its own extensive knowledge base, to draw up detailed shortlists featuring a number of outstanding candidates in each WTR Industry Awards category.

The nominees and eventual winners have been selected on the basis of a wide range of criteria relating to excellence, such as active prosecution and/or enforcement of trademarks in the relevant jurisdiction or field of industry; successful portfolio exploitation and rationalisation; strong industry/regional expertise; determination and diligence to ensure efficient cooperation with outside counsel; global attitude towards brand expansion and protection; and quality of internal organisation and in-house processes. Nominees were judged on activities for the period from January 2017 to January 2018. While the results were based on extensive objective research, the final decisions remain the subjective opinions of the World Trademark Review team.

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