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ICYMI: The Importance of Intellectual Property | Real Clear Politics

ICYMI: The Importance of Intellectual Property | Real Clear Politics

GIPCSummitSkateBoard (2)Skater: © dlewis33 / iStock

By Ashley Mergen

Skaters care about intellectual property, too. Or, rather, the small and medium-sized businesses whose trademarks give burgeoning extreme sports worldwide identity and notoriety. In Real Clear Politics today, Global IP Summit presenter, Tony Chen of California’s Osiris Shoes talks about the challenges and opportunities emerging industries face in establishing brand recognition and expanding into markets with substandard IP rights and enforcement.

Read his account below and be sure to join us in person or via webcast tomorrow for the 2013 Global IP Summit starting at 9:15am ET to hear Tony’s story and the stories of countless other innovators from around the world. And don’t forget to engage through social media using #IPSummit!

The Importance of Intellectual Property

By Tony Chen

Today, when we hear the words “intellectual property,” yawn-inducing college courses may be the first images that come to mind. But what about the skaters?

While it may be a rarity to see “intellectual property” and “skaters” in the same paragraph, intellectual-property rights — patents, copyrights, and especially trademarks — are as important to the sports industry as they are to any other.

Intellectual property is not an abstract topic confined to the realm of intellectuals. IP rights are central to the viability of many small and medium-sized businesses, such as my own. At Osiris, we have worked hard to make our footwear a staple in the skating and action-sports communities, and our brand and its reputation are critical to our success. Our trademark and designs are foundational to our business, and the same is true for countless other companies across dozens of industry sectors.

We’ve spent many years working to create a trusted brand identity. This process has been rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges — especially as we have expanded our reach beyond the United States.

We believe that our company of 20 employees has only begun to make its global footprint. As we continue to grow internationally, safeguarding our intellectual property becomes ever more important.

The challenges of doing so have become all too clear. They are especially felt in places where intellectual-property protection and enforcement is lacking. Russia, for example, was one of our top markets in Europe at one point, but our sales have diminished as counterfeiting has crowded out sales of our legitimate products over the last few years.

To read the full story, please visit Real Clear Politics.