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Intellectual property counsels for PepsiCo and Nestlé have warned food brands that they must find a balance between taking advantage of the fast pace of social media and ensuring that they do not breach third party rights.
Speaking at the Food and Beverage, Law & IP Summit, held today (June 2) at the London Stock Exchange, counsels for both brands spoke of their experiences with marketing teams that are keen to post promotional messages.
Randy Liebowitz, legal director for PepsiCo, said that “while the nature of social media is that you have to be quick, brands have to be careful that they have permission to use videos and images”.
He said the company uses online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to “build a relationship with the market”.
With that, he said, are issues concerning copyright, trademarks and rights of publicity.
The decision to use certain material on social media is often “tricky”, Liebowitz said.
Juliana Hoyos-Echeverri, senior legal counsel at Nestlé, said she faces “questions” from her marketing team everyday concerning what they can and cannot do on social media.
She added that demands may vary from a request that needs an answer in minutes to a difficult IP question.
But, she said it is important that IP legal counsels for food brands “are part of the evolution” of digital mediums.
Chairing the discussion was Tom Scourfield, partner at law firm CMS Cameron McKenna. He pointed out that the sharing nature of social media may well be antagonistic to the brand’s determination to develop its long-term goodwill.
But he said “goodwill is a collective view of consumers and you cannot keep it all to yourself".
“IP protection must facilitate, not hinder the use of social media,” he added.
The Food and Beverage, Law & IP Summit took place at the London Stock Exchange today.
PepsiCo, Nestlé, social media, Food and Beverage IP Summit