Lily Tsen's Exclusive Interview

1-How can Intellectual Property Strategies help brand in terms of creating a differentiated brand identity?
When people think of Intellectual Property and branding they almost always think about this in terms of trade marks and, to some extent copyright. However, brands are so much more than registrable assets. An organisation’s brand needs to impart an existence, to which that existence is attributed a value, in the hearts and minds of the public. By including the protection of Intellectual Property Rights as part of your differentiated brand strategy, you enable the protection of many aspects of your brand campaign by securing exclusive rights with respect to such things as your product name, logo, slogans, designs, unique look and feel, and even in some cases, sound smell and / or taste. Intellectual Property protection should be part of an organisation’s overall and ongoing branding and broader identity, product protection and marketing strategy. For example, trade mark registrations can allow an organisation to protect its brand from the encroachment or passing off on well-established good will by third party even before the organisation starts using mark in the foreign jurisdiction. This enables organisations to plan and prepare well in advance to position themselves with the intended audience in the target market.

2-What are your biggest challenges in managing IP of your company?
Our biggest challenge is getting our arms around the multitude of registrations and intellectual property protection regimes which comes with being part of a company with a presence in over 40 countries. There is also the challenge of educating our people and raising awareness so that they know and understand what intellectual property rights are, how they arise, and the need to protect them locally. This extends also to raising awareness about the types of intellectual property rights which my organisation is primarily keen to protect, and the mechanisms and stages at which individuals and teams should be taking the steps necessary to achieve intellectual property rights protection. The other challenge is managing IP leakage relative to and / or as a result of personnel movements. For example, key individuals leaving our organisation to join a competitor. Enforcement of non-compete and non-solicit provisions can be challenging in some jurisdictions.

3- What intellectual property resources or activities have you used in this Pandemic for your company?
We have a dedicated Office of Intellectual Property Counsel situated in Amcor’s Innovation Centre in Neenah, Wisconsin. The team there coordinates all the resources and activities necessary to protect our intellectual property rights across the globe. This includes patent drafting and filing, trade mark filing, freedom to operate checks/clearances, and NDA/CDA review. The team there will utilise external counsel for support (mainly in relation to local law issues) as required.

4-What in your view is more important; IP Awareness or IP Protection?
In my view, IP Awareness is more important that IP Protection because the need for awareness comes first and is the driver for IP protection. It is impossible to successfully protect intellectual property rights if there is no awareness, or a poor lack of understanding and awareness, about what intellectual property rights are, how they are created / where you find them, and the need to protect them.

5- What factors do you believe will shape the future of Intellectual Property Across the Globe?
Artificial intelligence and open innovation.

6- What is your company’s vision for 2020 and beyond in this COVID19 situation?
In 2018, my company pledged to develop all of our packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. We have remained committed to achieving this pledge during the course of this COVID19 situation and beyond, and are focusing our efforts in innovating across seven sustainability options, those options being:- Recyclable; Post-consumer recycled content; Compostable; Bio-based materials; Lower carbon footprint; Responsibly sourced materials; Reusable.

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