Regulation can dilute the potency of alcohol-related promotion, but hashtags and YouTube videos can provide an easy way for companies to produce entertaining campaigns online. For brands using social media and other online channels, however, the increased exposure and use of their trademark can make IP protection a tricky task. So while alcohol might be the cause of (and, indeed, the solution to) many of life’s problems, many alcohol brands themselves also face dilemmas.
This is the theme of this month’s industry report, which takes a wide-ranging look at the IP considerations for drinks brands operating online. In addition, we assess how businesses might respond to various threats including counterfeiting, a curse that has cost the UK drinks sector in particular a lot of money.
A few pages further on, you will find an in-depth review of the Marques conference in Copenhagen last month. A record number of people descended on the Danish capital—where bicycles outnumber people—to hear from companies including Google, Nestlé and Lego. The sessions were generally interesting and interactive, and revealed how online infringement presents itself in many different forms and at numerous venues. The internet and social media, it seems, are only going to keep re-shaping this brand protection landscape.
Finally, we hear from Safir Anand, a partner at Indian law firm Anand & Anand, about some interesting cases involving online counterfeits and parallel imports in his country. While counterfeiting disputes are rarely contested in court, we hear that the law on the legality of parallel imports is ambiguous and hotly contested in India. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue, and we welcome your feedback.
Ed Conlon, Editor