In response to the social justice movement that defined 2020, many corporate entities revisited heretofore prominent—and obviously lucrative—trademarks deemed problematic in today’s political climate. Whether in grocery stores, medicine chests, or (sparsely populated) sporting arenas, the imminent or immediate evolution of global brands such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Mrs. Butterworth’s, L’Oréal’s “whitening” product line, or the NFL’s Washington Redskins and MLB’s Cleveland Indians, augured both a watershed moment for modern society and an immensely productive 2021 for intellectual property (IP) professionals. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, legal practitioners face abundant challenges, including copyright infringement concerns, trademark squatters, the newly enacted Trademark Modernization Act, and more. This conversation offers an important look at key considerations for businesses and advisors in the new calendar year. How and where should one be prepared to traverse the uncertain road ahead?
Kim Tignor, Executive Director, Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice
Jodi DeSchane, Of Counsel, Ballard Spahr LLP
James H. Johnson, Special Counsel, Eversheds Sutherland LLP
Scott Thompson, Consultant, IP-PORTUNITY; Former General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Marketing Properties, Mars, Incorporated
Rebecca Tushnet, Frank Stanton Professor of First Amendment Law, Harvard Law School
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