School of (hard) rock: protecting trademarks at Hard Rock International


Hard Rock is an internationally recognisable brand. WIPR spoke to Rebecca Roby, senior director of business affairs, about protecting the company’s trademarks.

Hard Rock International began life as a restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe, in London in 1971, set up by two Americans. It was 1978 before Hard Rock Cafe expanded to multiple locations. Today, the company has more than 140 cafe, hotel and/ or casino locations in more than 50 countries around the world, each with distinctive rock music memorabilia adorning the walls. But the brand’s iconic theme did not emerge until 1978, seven years after the brand was launched.

Hard Rock’s trademark and brand management strategy has had to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and to evolve rapidly to deal with the demands of rapid expansion. Rebecca Roby manages the company’s trademark portfolio of approximately 2,000 marks, encompassing not just restaurants but also merchandise, hotels and, more recently, casinos.

“We’re really a one-name brand,” she says. “We have the brand extensions into different hospitality segments; Hard Rock Cafes, Hard Rock Hotels and Hard Rock Casinos, but what we are really all about is the core Hard Rock brand. 

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