08 Mar The Power of Intellectual Property amidst Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has created health and economic crises globally, inflicting adverse long-term repercussions on the lives and livelihood of individuals. Businesses that are hit the hardest include brands in aviation, oil and gas, tourism and leisure, restaurants, and retail industries. Despite the economic fallout, having intellectual property rights and assessments can help your business fight the war against Covid-19.
Preserve Brand Value
As businesses are unable to operate under lockdown, brand value is greatly under pressure. At times like these, it is imperative to preserve the brand name by gaining positive reviews. For instance, brands like Audi, Volkswagen and Coca-Cola have temporarily redesigned their logos, portraying social distancing to champion the importance of staying physically apart and raise awareness. These brands are opportunistic and innovative in using the current situation to their advantage, thus improving their reputation and brand name. Therefore, it is essential that companies employ their brand name with care to prevent trademark misuse, a problem that will not only hurt the company that owns the brand but more importantly consumers as they will be misled.
The sustained shift in working patterns towards remote working has led to surge in demand for services like home delivery apps, online video conferencing platforms and chatbot software applications. Products like printers, laptops and working desks have also sold well because of remote working. Business leaders should react to the challenge by reassessing their brand, reshuffling their production lines, and catering to new needs. With the help of IP firms checking the requirements before launching a new product, businesses are able to quickly and transparently adjust to changes and diversify production to generate an increase in sales without worrying about the possibility of infringement accusations.
Transition to E-Commerce
With the implementation of travel bans and movement restrictions, industries like tourism and restaurants are directly impacted. Hence, businesses have to adapt and conform to the new norm which is e-commerce. This is where IP firms come in, checking the requirements when launching new products to avoid possible infringements and retain exclusive rights to mark your products in the online platform. The likelihood of cyberattacks will be greatly diminished if a secure site is established. Consumers will also be more confident towards trademarked products in terms of their quality and originality. Furthermore, by analysing your competitor’s IP portfolio, businesses can identify areas of improvement while appreciating their strong points. For business already involved in e-commerce and thinking of entering a new domain, white space analysis can also be employed to identify new sales opportunities.
Protection from Counterfeit Goods
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are fully aware that the Covid-19 pandemic provides the opportunity for criminals to tap on consumer’s need or perceived need of medical supplies to distribute fake and adulterated products. Made in unsterile sweatshops previously used to make phoney handbags or designer jeans, these counterfeit face masks pose a threat to the reputation of legitimate medical product manufacturers as well as the spread of the disease. This highlights the importance of intellectual property rights in protecting against the production and dissemination of counterfeit coveted medical supplies. Businesses who had registration of their IP could enforce their IP rights on counterfeit parties to ensure that ineffective medicines and face masks are confiscated. For instance, during the development of 3M N95 masks, products must be sent to NIOSH to be certified before launch.
Offsets Financial Imbalance
Social distancing measures have halted most business activities, creating a huge revenue loss for companies. Reluctance in consumer spending due to rising unemployment from business closures further exacerbated the weakening financial state of companies. However, the possession of intellectual property assets can be very useful to offset the financial loss businesses are experiencing. Companies can utilise their intangible assets to compensate for their loss in revenue through earning royalties by licensing their brand. Moreover, companies are also able to take legal action against patent invalidation or copyright infringement with appropriate intellectual property assessment to safeguard inventions and foster innovation.