Marc Lieberstein, Kilpatrick Townsend partner in the New York office, was honored to appear on a panel at the Cardozo School of Law with other leading intellectual property (IP) law practitioners to address “Brands and Their Corporate and Social Responsibility.” The event, which was held on World IP Day, discussed how brands are developing ways to give back to society from promoting better working conditions and sustainable manufacturing to providing their products and services to those less fortunate in unique and creative charitable ways.

The panel examined legal issues associated with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) including global compliance, branding, licensing, and protection and enforcement issues. Takeaways from the presentation include:

  • Worldwide brands are implementing CSR programs not only to comply with tougher laws, but also to satisfy consumer demand for brands that give back to the community or brands that are taking steps to be environmentally friendly. Survey evidence shows that over 50% of consumers will pay extra for a brand that is participating in CSR.
  • The relationship agreements (licenses, distribution, JV, co-brand) among brands and their partners in CSR initiatives must provide for brand protection, as well as insure that all partners up and down the supply chain — from manufacturers (including sub-manufacturers) to retailers — are all complying with laws and regulations at local, state, federal, national and international levels.
  • Cooperation and communication between brand counsel and compliance counsel with the business and marketing executives is imperative for any CSR program to succeed.