WTR Industry Awards 2019: the shortlist revealed

The WTR Industry Awards 2019 – which will be presented at an exclusive ceremony at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art – honour leading trademark teams and individuals across a range of sectors. Here we unveil the shortlist.

Asia-Pacific Team of the Year

  • Alibaba
  • Louis Vuitton Malletier
  • Danone
  • Tencent
  • Treasury Wine Estates

Europe, Middle East and Africa Team of the Year

  • Daniel Wellington
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Richemont
  • Sandoz International
  • The Swatch Group

Latin America Team of the Year

  • Enova Foods
  • Grupo Boticário
  • Grupo ZAP
  • Natura
  • PepsiCo

North America Team of the Year

  • Apple
  • Home Box Office
  • Netflix
  • Starbucks
  • Under Armour

Fashion, Cosmetics and Luxury Goods Team of the Year

  • adidas
  • Burberry
  • Chanel
  • Christian Louboutin
  • Louis Vuitton Malletier

Financial and Professional Services Team of the Year

  • Mastercard
  • MetLife
  • NASDAQ
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • PayPal

Food, Beverages and Tobacco Team of the Year

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev
  • Mars
  • PepsiCo
  • The Hershey Company
  • Treasury Wine Estates

Healthcare and Life Sciences Team of the Year

  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • Pfizer
  • Sandoz International
  • Specsavers
  • Zoetis

Household and Consumer Goods Team of the Year

  • The 3M Company
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Spectrum Brands
  • Unilever

Internet and Telecommunications Team of the Year

  • Comcast
  • Netflix
  • RR Donnelley
  • Sky International
  • Verizon Communications

Local Team of the Year

  • Bose
  • Dunkin’ Brands Group
  • Harpoon Brewery
  • ‘47 Brand
  • Sage Therapeutics

Not-for-Profit Organisation Team of the Year

  • Conservation International
  • Rotary International
  • The American Red Cross
  • The Scotch Whisky Association
  • The Wikimedia Foundation

Retail Team of the Year

  • 7-Eleven
  • Chewy
  • Inter IKEA Holding Services
  • lululemon athletica
  • Target Corporation

Software and Online Services Team of the Year

  • Airbnb
  • Amazon.com
  • Groupon
  • Honeywell International
  • Nintendo of America

Sports, Entertainment and Media Team of the Year

  • Discovery
  • Home Box Office
  • Nike
  • The Fédération Internationale de
    Football Association
  • Warner Bros Entertainment

Technology and Consumer Electronics Team of the Year

  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Google
  • Havells India
  • Intel

Travel and Leisure Team of the Year

  • American Airlines
  • Caesars Entertainment
  • EasyGroup
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Uber

Vehicles and Transport Team of the Year

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • John Deere
  • Toyota Motor Corporation
  • The Volvo Group

In-house leader of the year: the nominees

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Ali Buttars, Netflix

Media and entertainment giant Netflix boasts an ever-expanding portfolio of rights as it launches new brands and increases its global coverage. Head of Trademarks Ali Buttars’ team is responsible for house and title brands globally, including title clearance for all original content, registration strategies, brand protection and enforcement matters. Boasting a “growth mindset”, one nominator commends Buttars for creating “forward-thinking approaches to all aspects of the in-house trademark practice including re-imagining prosecution, enforcement and clearance strategies”. She also won praise for her mentoring of peers and colleagues, her “substantive mastery of laws and practices in multiple jurisdictions” and for adopting “innovative real-world approaches to protecting, enforcing and maintaining trademark rights around the world”.

Courtney Laginess, Mars

Courtney Laginess is senior counsel at Mars Petcare, a growing business segment of the Mars portfolio that is home to around 50 brands – including Cesar, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Sheba and Whiskas – and which operates in more than 55 countries. Leading the team’s trademark-related efforts, Laginess is lauded for his keen understanding of business needs and ability to balance these while addressing pressing legal issues, cutting through the clutter to identify practical risks and the best path forward for the clients that he supports. One nominator concludes: “Courtney is an exceptional IP attorney with a breadth of knowledge about global trademark portfolio protection and management. His forward-thinking approach to product and sector expansion is an asset to his company.”

Geoffrey Marr, Canada Goose

Geoffrey Marr is director, legal at Canada Goose, where he is part of a lean team managing all legal issues for the clothing manufacturer. The brand’s profile has soared in recent years, with China emerging as a key market for expansion. With such popularity comes infringement and the company kicked off 2018 by filing a trademark infringement suit in a federal court in Chicago against a network of unnamed Chinese counterfeiters allegedly marketing fake Canada Goose merchandise across hundreds of unauthorised websites. Fast forward to October and the company had removed 30,000 fake online ads and 1,700 websites that were falsely portraying themselves as official or legitimate sellers of its products across the year. Marr has taken a proactive role in both protecting and commercialising activities, with one nominator describing him as “commercially minded, passionate about intellectual property, always keen to understand and learn more about the laws and practices of different jurisdictions [and] very responsive given the myriad of legal issues on his plate each day”.

Judy McCool, Home Box Office

Judy McCool is senior vice president, legal affairs for Home Box Office, where she is responsible for managing a team that provides guidance in connection with marketing, advertising, social media and consumer promotions across the HBO and Cinemax networks, as well as maintaining and enforcing legal protection for the company’s brand and trademark assets worldwide. An active member of INTA, McCool’s remit ensures that she is at the forefront of where trademark and entertainment law intersect, with powerhouse brands such as Game of Thrones often the target of infringers and imitators across the globe. One nominator notes that, under her “expert guidance”, the team has developed a reputation as “extremely professional, creative and practical”, despite the heavy demands of the entertainment industry.

Daniel Zohny, Fédération Internationale de Football Association

Daniel Zohny is head of intellectual property at Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), where – in addition to leading all matters involving intellectual property – he is responsible for its ticketing enforcement efforts. In that role he leads a team of eight specialised IP professionals and oversees all aspects of conceptualisation, registration, maintenance and enforcement of FIFA’s intellectual property, including the implementation of its enforcement programme for the FIFA World Cup, both online and on-site in the relevant host country during the event. This required proactive oversight of IP matters around the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, working with enforcement authorities and the Russia Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that protection efforts suceeded, while simultaneously ensuring a balanced enforcement approach.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jack Chang is currently special counsel to the chair of L Brands International. He previously worked at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for 17 years, relocating to Shanghai in 1998 to set up the Asia/Shanghai office for the corporate law department. While at J&J he also established and led the IP protection office of its operating companies in China and served as corporate assistant general counsel. Between 2006 and 2014 he worked as senior IP counsel for Asia at General Electric Company. Alongside his distinguished career in-house, Chang is one of the founders of both the Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC) and its predecessor, the China Anti-counterfeiting Coalition (set up in 1998). Between 2003 and 2018 he served the organisation – which has around 200 foreign IP owners as members and is dedicated to improving the IP environment and commercial rule of law in China – in a variety of roles, including vice chair, chair and honorary chair. Over the past two decades Chang has provided, in person and writing, his observations on China’s IP environment and forwarded recommendations to the China State Council leaders and employees – in 2004 the country’s then State Council Vice Premier Wu YI commended QBPC following a briefing from Chang. He served as a pro bono IP adviser to the Shanghai IP Administration from 2007 to 2014 and, in October 2016, he received the Annual Brand Protection Hero Award from the Anti-counterfeiting and Product Protection Centre of Michigan State University. Chang is currently an elected QBPC vice chair for 2019 and 2020.  

Awards methodology

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 (WTR) surveyed its readers and selected members of the global trademark community for nominations across key industry categories. The WTR 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 2018 to January 2019. While the results were based on extensive objective research, the final decisions remain the subjective opinions of the WTR team.

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