Brandchannel’s featured article focuses on the link between a brand’s identity and the country in which goods sold under that brand originate. Ron Urwin of the University of Cape Town focuses on the practice of outsourcing to countries with cheaper labour costs, even by firms whose brand image is strongly associated with the country in which they are based. Under this model, “Italian” shoes made in Romania, Kenyan roses and Chinese Major League baseball equipment promoted as being an “American Classic” is put on sale on both sides of the Atlantic. Consumers it seems are, for the most part, unperturbed and just don’t really know or care about where the goods they are purchasing come from. According a public relations executive at Geox, an Italian footwear company “outsourcing to cheaper locations does not challenge the integrity of the company itself, which keeps all logistics, marketing and financial departments in Italy, so that ‘the brain and soul [of Geox] is Italian, [while] the body is foreign’”.

The IPKat says that as long as the undertaking is not using its mark in a way that deceives consumers as to the geographical origin of its goods, there is no conflict between this practice and trade mark law. In fact, the definition of trade mark infringement is flexible enough in both the EU and the US to accommodate this practice since there is no requirement that consumers know the source of the trade marked goods they are buying, as long as they think that the quality of all goods bearing the mark are under the inspection of a single undertaking, even if the goods in fact come from different physical locations.

Learn more about Kenyan roses here
More American Classics here, here, here and here

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION <strong>LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION</strong> Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, October 09, 2003 Rating: 5

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