Verna Law at Toy Fair 2017
This year was Anthony Verna’s 7th Toy Fair and Wil Jacques’ first Toy Fair.
Yes, there was lots of fun to be had. Here’s Wil teaming up with Lego Batman to provide patent protection to Toy Fair participants:
Here’s Anthony with the Ghostbusters, stamping out trademark confusion:
While, there is fun at Toy Fair, there is also serious business at this preeminent industry convention, just as if it were any other industry convention.
Having face to face contact with many of the Exhibitors affords us the ability to see first-hand the good (and the bad) with regard to how companies manage their intellectual property (IP). Here are some of our take-aways – IP trends – from the companies that Verna Law met with:
- Trend 1: No auditing of IP portfolios and/or business practices that impact capturing (or losing) IP value.
We were surprised that so many companies had not identified or registered all their intellectual property. It’s paramount that companies identify and register all intellectual property.
We met with several companies, for instance, that had one patent and one trademark registered, but it was clear in our discussions with them that they should have had more registrations. Without these registrations, companies lose out on protecting multiple brands, characters, and designs. Every single piece of intellectual property in today’s world should be registered (or treated as a secret) in order to properly be valued and to properly have the ability to enforce in federal court (with damages of triple the actual amount of lost sales and attorney’s fees).
- Trend 2: Companies need to recognize that intellectual property improves the company’s value by creating a product-line extension, new and different demand, and possible extension into new market spaces.
One example is that there are many companies with patents to puzzles. But if that company were to add an improvement to the puzzle, then a new patent for a new puzzle could be registered. Then there is another product with another trademark to register. The value of the company grows because there is more intellectual property and more product to sell – and only with incremental changes.
- Trend 3: Companies need to register intellectual property in China.
Yes, many companies are manufacturing in China. The costs of goods and labor are much cheaper in China, so this trend is going to continue. However, many companies are failing to register their intellectual property in China. Even if a company is not selling its product in China, having the manufacture of the products there allows the company to register its intellectual property there. Should there be infringement or counterfeiting of a company’s product, the only relief is to have intellectual property in China. (And, yes, there are firms in China that take intellectual property seriously and will help intellectual property owners enforce.)