Any company that owns iconic brands knows that its trademark strategy needs to be watchful and robust. But HJ Heinz is taking things a step further by exploring a holistic approach to IP, one that protects more than just the brand.
Something interesting has been happening in IP in recent years. It used to be broadly possible to divide companies’ intellectual property concerns based on the type of product they produced. So hi-tech and pharma companies would have seen their patent lawyers as key to their success, while consumer goods and food companies might have identified their brands and trademarks as their principle IP assets.
But increasingly, companies on both sides of the equation are realising that it’s not enough just to protect their trademarks, or solely to focus on patents.
Chereé Johnson has been chief innovation counsel at HJ Heinz for two years. She is at the forefront of the company’s attempts to make sure its IP strategy covers all the bases. “My primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are creating strategies for protecting and defending our IP—more specifically our patents—from a global perspective,” she says.
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Heinz, anti-counterfeiting, IP protection