360° Coverage : Branding In The Collaborative Economy: Are Intellectual Property...

2 Updates

Branding In The Collaborative Economy: Are Intellectual Property Rights At Risk?

Feb 6 2014, 1:41pm CST | by

There’s an event going on today at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri called The Resilient Summit.  It is described as an examination of the “Collaborative Economy,” which is being called  “a...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

33 weeks ago

Branding In The Collaborative Economy: Are Intellectual Property Rights At Risk?

Feb 6 2014, 1:41pm CST | by

There’s an event going on today at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri called The Resilient Summit.  It is described as an examination of the “Collaborative Economy,” which is being called  “a key trend that’s redefining established business models, empowering consumers and driving the next phase of social.”   How can Collaborative Economy have anything to do with Intellectual Property?

As it turns out, plenty.

The Collaborative Economy is a term we’ve seen cropping up with more and more frequency in the commercial and social media.  The Collaborative Economy is described as an economic system where consumers prefer to share, rather than purchase, goods and services.

Stop right there.  In a consumer-oriented economy, where the idea is for people to consume, changing the paradigm to sharing would seem to imply a lot less consumption.  Economically, it may remain to be seen whether there is less consumption or just different consumption, and perhaps different revenue models under which the overall consumer economy still expands.

Intellectual Property law has focused on how to let inventors, artists, authors and businesses protect their rights while generally selling their goods and services.  What is the tension between protecting “sales” and the collaborative model of sharing?  How do brand owners maintain and protect their valuable intellectual property assets in the collaborative marketplace? 

A lot of us know that instead of purchasing a car, someone who needs a car only occasionally can share a car through www.zipcar.com.   Or, a consumer from Detroit who wants to visit Paris for a week’s vacation can use www.airbnb.com instead of finding a hotel room.  Some brand owners have tried to figure out how to jump ahead of the curve and share, instead of sell, their products.  Patagonia’s and eBay’s Common Threads venture enables consumers to recycle “Patagonia” brand outdoor clothing from one user to another.  Toyota has started leasing cars for short term periods.   So in these instances, it seems pretty clear that trademarks may become more important than ever in a sharing economy.   People rely on the trademarked name as an assurance of quality.  Trademarks will signify quality, authenticity and predictability.  They may function in different ways, but the value of a trademark – an indication of origin – is still front and center.

Advertising and marketing are traditional concepts for extending a brand’s reach. As the Collaborative Economy shifts more power out of the hands of marketers and into those of consumers, how will brands be able to advertise and market lawfully? What steps will brands have to take to reach consumers without exposing themselves to undue risk?  Social media strategies did not fit into traditional marketing until the past couple of years.  But testimonials like the experiences of friends and other consumers are key marketing components for the Collaborative Economy.  Advertising that includes references to these experiences is still subject to regulation by the FTC and the various state rules.  Disclosure rules regarding who is talking about your product and why, and if they are getting any money or other benefit, are also going to be front and center.

When we get to traditional concepts of patent and copyright protection, there is the potential for fundamental distribution by sharing.  Patents and copyrights have both been around in this country for well over two centuries.  Both types of property rights were established directly in the Constitution (you could look it up: it’s right there in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, “…to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries…”)

The worthy bargain between encouraging invention and creation in exchange for giving inventors and authors various terms of exclusivity has always been favored by our laws.  An economy which relies in re-using rather than selling creates new challenges.  The digital economy has already exposed some of the weaknesses of the existing law in the music and publishing industries.  Will collaboration finally push a major overhaul of copyright law principles?  It may.  But for now, copyright owners will have to consider how entrenched legal principals such as a fair use right to copy the works of others will work into the equation.   For now, copyright owners might want to take more and innovative licensing approaches, including limiting the duration of rights which they grant, to find ways to explain this potential new collaborative marketplace. 

Patents are property rights which already lend themselves to licensing.  Collaboratives might be a boon to sharing via patent licensing arrangements.  Might manufacturers rent rather than buy?  Can they join in a pool of patents to help expand their scope and streamline enforcement efforts?   There are legal boundaries that apply to some of these methods, and patents are already under wide-scale attack.  Does collaboration prove an opportunity to change the dialog? It might, especially when considering patent-laden technologies like 3-D printing, which are on the verge of bringing massive changes to whom consumer goods are valued and delivered.  And of course, if some entrepreneurs start patenting methods of sharing, we’ll be having a whole ‘nother discussion, still.

People protect their intellectual property rights as a threat which helps keep copiers at bay, and as a weapon with which to attack when that threat fails to keep an infringer from testing the boundaries of protection.  Or, perhaps more realistically, when a buck is to be made by any means possible.  Will consumers be unable to distinguish this, in a sharing marketplace, between genuine goods and knock-offs?  If the sources of products are changing, where is the reassurance going to come from that the goods are genuine?  If a shopper buys a bag at Louis Vuitton, there are some good reasons to believe the product is the genuine article.  In a collaborative setting, what assurance is there, besides the buyer’s word?

The Collaborative Economy may well just be starting.  It may be the next big thing.  Companies can consider whether they can join the Collaborative Economy in a way that uses their intellectual property to build trust.  Companies will need to stay ahead of the consumer and legal curve to insure they know the impact on their intellectual property rights.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

4 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" hits home ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Modi hard sells India to big US business
Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) Hard selling India with assurances of a business-friendly environment and a stable and simpler tax regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited top US business to come and invest in India.
 
 
First Ebola case diagnosed in US
Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) A patient in Texas has tested positive for Ebola, becoming the first person diagnosed in the US with the deadly virus, US health authorities said Tuesday.
 
 
Thousands of children orphaned by Ebola: UNICEF
United Nations, Oct 1 (IANS) At least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak in West Africa, according to preliminary estimates by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which was released here Monday, and many are being rejected by their surviving relatives for fear of infection.
 
 
Apple benefited from illegal tax agreements in Ireland: EU
Brussels, Oct 1 (IANS) European Union (EU) regulators Tuesday announced that Apple Inc. enjoyed state aid from Ireland for many years via illegal tax agreements.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Chinese ship capsizes near Japan
Osaka, Oct 1 (IANS) A Chinese ship has capsized near Japan, the Chinese consulate general said here Wednesday. Official said five crew members of the ship LURONGYU2859 were rescued, while some nine were still missing...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi makes a 'hugely successful journey' to America
Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up what he himself called a "hugely successful journey" to the US, winning over everyone, from President Barack Obama down, hardselling India to big...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi hard sells India to big US business
Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) Hard selling India with assurances of a business-friendly environment and a stable and simpler tax regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited top US business to come and invest in India....
Read more on Business Balla
 
Indians finish 4th, 5th in 50km race walk
Incheon, Oct 1 (IANS) Sandeep Kumar and Basanta Bahadur Rana failed to add to India's medal tally as they finished fourth and fifth in the men's 50km race walk event of the 17th Asian Games here Wednesday. Sandeep...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
India's Aarti knocked out in Asiad taekwondo
Incheon, Oct 1 (IANS) India's Aarti Khakal was ousted in round of 32 of the women's 57kg taekwondo competition of the 17th Asian Games here Wednesday. Aarti, 22, lost 8-15 to Kazakhstan's Ganiya Alzak at the Ganghwa...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Afghan capital rocked by explosions
Kabul, Oct 1 (IANS) Two explosions in quick succession went off in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul Wednesday. "The first explosion took place at 6.20 a.m. and it was followed by another blast at 6.32 a.m.," an...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Brazil's Serie A to wait on goalline technology
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 1 (IANS) Brazil's Serie A will not adopt goalline technology until all stadiums are fitted with the necessary equipment, a top official has said. The topic has been the subject of controversy after...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Chelsea beats Sporting 1-0 to go top of Champions League Group G
Lisbon, Oct 1 (IANS) Chelsea beat Sporting Lisbon 1-0 at the Alvalade stadium here, to go top of Champions League Group G. Nemanja Matic's 34th minute header from a Fabregas free-kick looped over goalkeeper Rui...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Syrian army bombs kill eight in Aleppo
Beirut, Oct 1 (IANS/EFE) Four children and a woman were among the eight people killed Tuesday when Syrian government aircraft dropped bombs on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Adam Levine turns stalker for new video
Los Angeles, Oct 1 (IANS) Singer Adam Levine of band Maroon 5 is seen stalking a girl in the music video for their latest single "Animals". The girl in the video is played by the singer's real life wife Behati...
Read more on Celebrity Balla