ASIPI 2019: A healthy debate


Saman Javed

ASIPI 2019: A healthy debate

ESB professional /

Global head of trademarks, domains and copyright at Novartis, David Lossignol tells Saman Javed how brand restriction legislation is impacting the health industry.

The restriction by government departments of the IP of brands to protect their citizens’ health is a controversial topic.

This year’s Asociación Interamericana de la Propiedad Intelectual (ASIPI) annual conference will discuss the issue at a panel session, moderated by Gerardo Florez, an associate at Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría in Colombia.

The group will look closely at Chile as an example of a country moving forward with brand restriction legislation.

The panel will also discuss other countries in the region where governments are debating adopting similar legislation to address public health concerns.

David Lossignol, global head of trademarks, domains and copyright at Novartis, and president of the International Trademark Association (INTA), will speak on the panel from a policy perspective.

“Brand restrictions touch pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and almost any product that can be perceived as somehow unhealthy.” - David Lossignol, INTA

“I will present INTA’s position on brand restrictions and provide an overview of brand restriction legislation globally,” he says.

Lossignol will also “shed insight into the social and economic implications of brand restrictions legislation, and how, for example, it can weaken consumer trust and fuel the production of counterfeit goods”.

“Brand restrictions” are any type of regulation restricting trademark use on packaging, the most intrusive form of which would be actual “plain packaging”, where governments mandate a uniform, generic packaging.

Some brand restrictions currently being enacted across the world include highly standardised packaging, bans on the use of branding elements, compulsory licensing of trademarks, and size-mandated health warnings.  

“The reality is that health regulators are beginning to see plain packaging and similar measures that restrict how companies use their brands as a policy tool to influence consumer behaviour,” Lossignol says, describing it as “one of the most pressing issues facing the global IP community”.

“Brand restrictions touch pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and almost any product that can be perceived as somehow unhealthy.

“The ‘slippery slope’ effect is real and brands across numerous industries and product categories are at risk,” he adds.

David Lossignol, José Luis Cárdenas and Gerardo Florez will present ‘Nutrition, Health Labeling and Trademarks: How to reach a balanced equation’, from 15:15 to 16:45 on October 30 in Limatambo 3, 4, 5.

ASIPI 2019, brands, INTA, counterfeit goods, trademark use, generic packaging, public health concerns, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages