Washington, DC counsel Janet Fries was quoted in the Corporate Counsel article, “Rise in Customized Goods Raises IP Concerns.”
A popular idea of late is to personalize the buying experience by letting customers join in the design process. But the trend raises questions about intellectual property rights.
Prudent companies require customers to agree that the brand maintains ownership of the designs, says Janet. “A company would be wise to make that clear,” she says.
Companies should also carefully consider how much freedom to give customers, says Fries, because they don’t want to compromise the reputation of their products. “No company would want to jump on the latest trend of customization only to see their brand weakened,” says Fries. “In the case of Gucci, there are a lot of choices, but the choices are made from a menu that’s supplied by Gucci,” she says. “They are only offering choices that are up to their standards and that would result in goods that are consistent with their image and their brand.”
Putting aside the issue of quality control, maintaining some control over the selection process like Gucci has done can help protect IP rights, according to Fries. “I don’t see that the individual customer would have anything in the way of individual authorship,” she says.
To read the whole article, click the link below.