UnderArmour Trademark Counsel
Again, Intellirights thanks William Morris, trademark counsel at UnderArmour, for providing insight on the problems his company faces in dealing with counterfeit goods.
During our interview, Morris was clear that UnderArmour is a high-quality, performance brand, and that the company intends to vigorously enforce its intellectual property rights to protect the brand. We look forward to hearing from him soon with an update on UnderArmour’s progress in this ongoing battle.
In its recent 2011 Special 301 Report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) framed the global problem of counterfeiting this way:
Counterfeiting has evolved in recent years from a localized industry concentrated on copying high-end designer goods to a sophisticated global business involving the mass production and sale of a vast array of fake goods, including items such as counterfeit medicines, health care products, food and beverages, automobile and airplane parts, toothpaste, shampoos, razors, electronics, batteries, chemicals, and sporting goods.
Counterfeiting and piracy diminish the profits of legitimate producers and risk harm to consumers who may purchase fraudulent, potentially dangerous products. Trading partners where rampant counterfeiting and piracy occur lose tax revenue and may find it more difficult to attract investment.
Those engaged in trademark counterfeiting and piracy generally pay no taxes or duties, and they often disregard basic standards for worker health and safety and product quality and performance. Industry reports trends in counterfeiting and piracy that include:
• A greater variety in the types of goods that are being counterfeited, as well as the production of labels and components for these fake products. Counterfeiters are establishing a global trade in counterfeit items, shipping them separately to free trade zones (FTZs) to be assembled and distributed in another country. Counterfeiters have also abused FTZs to disguise the origin of counterfeit goods.
Stronger and more effective criminal and border enforcement is required to stop the manufacture, import, export, transit, and distribution of pirated and counterfeit goods. Through bilateral consultations, FTAs, and international organizations, USTR is working to ensure that penalties have deterrent effects, and include significant monetary fines and meaningful sentences of imprisonment.
Additionally, important elements of a deterrent enforcement system include requirements that pirated and counterfeit goods, as well as materials and implements used for their production, are seized and destroyed.
To learn more about UnderArmour, please click here.
To learn more about the Office of the United States Trade Representative, please click here.
We especially thank Howard University School of Law and Professors Steven Jamar and Lateef Mtima for facilitating this interview. For more information on Howard’s law program, please click here.
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