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In conversation with Karen Rivera, Trademark Manager in Elkem ASA
Brand Protection
3 mins

In conversation with Karen Rivera, Trademark Manager in Elkem ASA

Table of Contents:

    Elkem ASA has carved a niche for itself as a global leader in the production of advanced silicon and silicone-based materials, playing a pivotal role in shaping a more sustainable future. 

    With an impressive portfolio of 1,137 live trademarks across 203 families, and about 1,948 live patents in 424 families, Elkem’s innovations serve a vast range of industries. From construction to metal production, and various silicone applications such as medical implants, sealants, and baking utensils, the company’s operations span the globe.

    In this conversation with Karen Rivera, Elkem ASA’s Trademark Manager, we delve into the heart of Elkem’s efforts to protect its brand integrity. We also explore the importance of intellectual property management in safeguarding the company’s innovations and ensuring the safety of its consumers.

    Key takeaways:

    • The importance of brand protection
    • A comprehensive guide to implementing your IP protection strategy
    • Quantifying the success of brand protection
    • Emerging trends to look out for
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    Why is brand protection so important for B2B businesses?

    Brand protection at Elkem is fundamentally about safety. Our commitment is to keep all products sold under our name and our trademarks legitimate so that consumers will not be exposed to the risks of harmful counterfeits. In turn, this vigilance strengthens both consumer and brand trust. 

    This is especially important due to the critical nature of our products. Consider our chemicals, which are used in constructing bridges or skyscrapers, or the medical implants and devices that are placed inside the human body. 

    These applications demand precise conditions of production and packaging to ensure their reliability. So it’s essential that consumers have absolute confidence that these products are genuine Elkem products and that they meet all necessary safety standards.

    How can companies enforce and prioritize the protection of their IP rights?

    Our brand protection strategy at Elkem is proactive and decisive: we enforce against all infringements as soon as they’re discovered. From the outset, enforcement is our priority. We employ administrative measures and issue cease and desist letters as our primary tools. Legal action is taken, but it’s an exception. Our approach typically starts with the aim to cancel infringing trademarks or remove listings to mitigate any potential conflict. 

    We’ve also developed comprehensive guidelines for trademark enforcement, so our global team is equipped to handle infringements, whether it’s a competitor selling counterfeit products or illegitimate marketing offerings. We leverage monitoring services to identify infringements, and we rely on these services to enforce on our behalf.

    With over 1,130 active trademarks worldwide, our enforcement strategy is also guided by considerations around sales volume and the likelihood of product imitation. The presence of competitors who are likely to copy our products informs how vigilant we are. Ultimately, our strategy is driven by the need to protect our revenue and sales.

    What does success look like when it comes to brand protection?

    Success in our brand protection efforts comes down to a reduction in market infringements. Achieving complete elimination of counterfeits, while an ideal goal, may be unrealistic. But striving for it can significantly boost our reputation among customers. As we work to prevent counterfeits and infringements, we not only strengthen our brand but also affirm to our customers that Elkem is a company that is committed to their safety.

    The applications of our products are critical and have the potential to impact lives significantly. Consider the consequences of using inferior materials in construction: the risk of structural failure could result in serious harm. So safety is always a top priority for us. 

    Every measure we take to ensure the safety of our products is not only an ethical commitment but also a strategic one, as we know that a safe product is a sellable product. We are sure that our dedication to safety directly translates into sales due to our customer’s high opinion of our products.

    What emerging IP trends are coming in the near future?

    The emerging trends and challenges that stand out most are the Metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI), both of which represent areas of uncertainty for our business. The concept of the Metaverse, which has been gaining traction over the last three to four years, poses unique challenges due to its unknown impact on business operations and daily life. 

    Devices like Apple glasses, for instance, could dramatically alter our consumption habits and the amount of information we’re exposed to. This raises questions about how trademarks will be navigated in such a virtual space. 

    The current legal frameworks for trademark protection do not directly translate to the virtual products and services offered in the Metaverse, so new approaches to intellectual property will need to be developed in these environments.

    Similarly, AI presents both huge potential and significant risks. Our digital office is focused on navigating Elkem through the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are exploring how AI can be used to advance our operations, while carefully considering its implications. 

    Although we’ve utilized AI for monitoring trademarks online and in ecommerce for a while now, the full impact of AI on our business and the best practices for its use, are areas that we still need to explore.

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