David Lossignol, President of International Trademark Association (INTA)
Asia Business Law Journal spoke to David Lossignol, president of the International Trademark Association, this year at the conference, where we learnt more about his presidential taskforce aims, as well as INTA’s impact study on Gen Z’s insight on brands and counterfeit products.
What is the goal of your Presidential Task Force this year?
It’s called “Brands for a better society”. The goal is to show how brands help society at large by focusing on what they bring to communities. And by moving beyond the traditional message that trademarks only protect corporate interests. And we want to remind people how trademarks, they help to communicate quality, and support CSR efforts. So we must illustrate this by promoting the positive efforts of the brand community.
We also want to showcase all the ways that CSR is impacting brands and the brand value. And how companies embrace these new ways of doing business by stepping up and making changes, for better social and environmental practices. So that’s also these actions that would increase brand value and customer loyalty. So of course, counterfeiting is a big part of the CSR effort and “Brands for a better society”, because we want to see how counterfeiting and other IP violation, they frustrate the brands’ effort towards this bettering of society.
Can you explain what does “Brands for a better society” mean?
So most brands today, they prioritise giving back, you know as in giving back to society as an essential part of their operations, and CSR has really become a key component of their corporate strategy and their core value, their identity. One reason for this is that consumers, they have come to expect this of brands.
So there’s a strong community of belief-driven consumers. And at the heart of the consumer-brand relationship, there is trust. And this is also where IP comes in.
The public at large, increasingly, they view IP as means for company to unfairly inflate their profits, or wealth of shareholders, all of these at the expense of consumers, who buy the products and that’s their perception. As a consequence, therefore the role of trademarks and IP in general, and brands in societies is misunderstood. And this is fueling anti-IP sentiment.
So through this taskforce basically, we want to promote the positive efforts of the brand community in the world. And at no point in history, has humanity and the planet face such myriad issues that urgently need to be addressed, and we as brands, we have a central role to play. So for the generations that are following, we as brand professionals, we can really contribute to having a positive legacy for all brands and bettering society.
Would you tell us about INTA’s new study about Gen Z’s insight on brands and counterfeit products?
With this study, the objectives were to explore the relationship between Gen Z and brands, understand Gen Z’s attitudes and perceptions of counterfeit products, and impact the importance of different consideration influencing their purchase of counterfeit goods.
So we focus on Gen Z because of two main pieces of global data, the first one is the emergence of Gen Z, so that those born between 1995 and 2010, this will be the largest demographic group by 2020. So it’s critical for brand owners to understand the psyche of this generation. And second, the international trade of counterfeit, pirated goods, including digital privacy, is going to increase, or at least it’s an estimation, to as much as US$2.81 trillion by 2020.
As a result of these findings, we can take action to engage Gen Zs, motivate them, and change their attitudes and behaviours, especially towards counterfeits and the perception of brands. Really the goal is to drive their purchasing habits towards genuine products, and for them to stay away from counterfeits. So, if we manage this, this will not only help them, but it will also help society as a whole. And this is the link with “Brands for a better society”.