A major theme to come out of INTA’s 2013 Trademarks and the Changing Internet Landscape Conference in New York City was the value of cooperation between legal and marketing departments in the development and execution of a company’s digital strategies.
Yahoo!’s J. Scott Evans spoke of the benefits of looping in the right decision makers, so that one person isn’t taking on the whole risk and responsibility of trademark portfolio management. Marketing as well as legal departments should take ownership of a strategic campaign and its implementation.
Chris George, of the Intel Corporation, pointed out that business development and PR should also be in the loop on legal’s social media enforcement strategies, so that a company can more accurately weigh the risks of trademark infringement against the risk of a PR disaster. Fan sites – which sometimes use trademarks in their domain names or in the images on their website – may not be good targets for reclaim if reclaiming results in backlash from the website’s owner or other fans of the site.
FairWinds’ perspective has always been that this type of inter-departmental cooperation is necessary for an effective domain name strategy. Risk appetite, marketing plans, product launches, and consumer behavior are important considerations in deciding which domain names are key for a company to own. Add to this list the impending launch of thousands of new gTLDs, and it’s more important than ever to get marketing, legal, IT, and domain name expertise in the room together –even before you have figured out how ICANN regulations and policies will come into play.
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