Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP - USA
Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most and why?
I come from a long line of teachers and I ultimately feel like a teacher most days. I love direct consultations with clients and teaching them more than they ever wanted to know about intellectual property. I especially love how much they seem to appreciate it. I would literally do that all day, every day if I could.
Beyond that, I am all about developing efficiencies and perfecting the process.
How have client demands changed over the past year in response to pandemic-driven factors?
Other than having Zoom meetings, where I can now see my clients all around the world, hardly at all. That is the most surprising thing about the past year. I am very anxious to return to Paris, however. About a quarter of my practice is based in France and I spend a month there every year, living and working.
What effect will the Trademark Modernisation Act 2020 have on US and international brand owners looking to protect their rights in the United States?
The biggest impact is that the Trademark Modernisation Act will add a nice layer of accuracy to the USPTO, its bank of registered trademarks and, most importantly, the goods and services covered by them. This should lessen the overall number of likelihood of confusion objections issued by examining attorneys and ultimately help to streamline the registration process. It will make the system more efficient, so I am all for it.
How can brand owners work with online platforms to better protect their rights online?
Start by registering all your brands. Most online platforms require evidence of trademark ownership before taking action against an infringer.
After that, brand owners should take advantage of enforcement portals offered by online e-commerce platforms (eg, Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform and the Amazon Brand Registry). These platforms allow brand owners to quickly and efficiently monitor infringements, counterfeiters, resellers and other metrics to make decisions on how to enforce brand rights online. Once the brand owner is enrolled in this type of programme, it is not uncommon for concerning listings or sellers to be removed or blocked within 24 hours of making a complaint, which is a much quicker way to address the problem than the cease and desist letter process.
Even if a website does not offer an enforcement platform like Amazon or Alibaba, it is likely that the website owner has an IP policy that will allow for the removal of concerning content. Etsy and eBay offer takedown forms that allow for an efficient removal process upon filing. Similar forms can be found on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Working with these websites to remove content will result in quicker removal and potential action by the website, which is independent of any claims that the brand owner may have.
If you could make one change to the image and publicity rights protection system in the United States, what would it be and how likely is this to happen?
Federally codify! I have been working on rights of publicity issues since the late 1990s and they have been talking about federally codifying the statute since well before then. It is beyond time.
Amy Wright focuses her practice on trademark, copyright and right of publicity law in the context of aggressively pursuing infringers on behalf of her clients, as well as managing global IP portfolios. She has been successful in complex litigation, negotiations and settling a variety of IP infringements on behalf of her clients, which include large consumer products firms, as well as those in the entertainment industry.