Intellectual Property Management – A Product-Based Analysis Workshop organized by WIPO

2/2021 9.4.2021
computer, glases, pen and notebook

Erika Heikkinen, a second-year Master’s student in the Intellectual Property Law programme at Hanken School of Economics, participated in the Intellectual Property Management – A Product-Based Analysis Workshop organized by WIPO in October 15 and 16, 2020.

One of the international intellectual property law courses that Hanken offers for its Master’s students is ‘Intellectual Property Strategy for Business’ taught by Professor Nari Lee, which, in my opinion, has probably been the most interesting course during my studies at Hanken. Through the course, we explored all areas of intellectual property issues in practical business settings and learned from various guest lecturers and industry practitioners about different intellectual property strategies and how companies exploit their intangible creations. The main assignment of the course was to choose a product from a particular industry and write an analysis that examines the different intellectual property aspects of the product as well as the industry and business strategy of the product manufacturer. The student with the best work was selected to participate and present the analysis in a WIPO Workshop in October 2020.

It was clear to me from the very beginning that I wanted to choose a luxury good from the high-end fashion industry, not only because of my personal interest in fashion but also because of the peculiarities – intellectual property wise – of the luxury industry. As the demand for fashionable sneakers has been at its highest in the recent years, I decided to write my analysis of “the most talked-about shoe of 2018”, the futuristic LV Archlight Trainer designed by the women’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection. LV Archlight Trainer, particularly in white with the classic Monogram canvas, makes an interesting luxury good to analyze from an intellectual property rights perspective because it combines many different forms of intellectual property, namely design right, copyright and trademarks.

My work also provided an extensive analysis of Louis Vuitton’s industry, business strategy, industry value chain and intellectual property strategy. The French fashion house is a great example of being consistently successful in the exclusive industry of luxury goods and maintains its status as one of the as one of the world’s most valuable and desired brands for decades. One important key to Louis Vuitton’s success has undoubtedly been its intellectual property strategy. Firstly, Louis Vuitton has an extensive intellectual property portfolio which indicates the diligence of the brand to acquire and maintain its intellectual property rights. Secondly, Louis Vuitton has mainly exploited its intellectual property rights exclusively by exercising its market power and by excluding others from using its rights. Lastly and interestingly, Louis Vuitton has made a name for itself by actively and aggressively pursuing to enforce and defend its intellectual property assets against counterfeiting and brand dilution.

In October 2020, I had the honor of representing Hanken together with Professor Nari Lee, Professor Irene Calboli and Doctoral Student Mikko Antikainen in the WIPO Intellectual Property Management Workshop. The purpose of the two-day seminar was to improve understanding of intellectual property and management through product-based presentations by teams from several academic institutions around the world, including Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Israel and the US. My presentation of the LV Archlight Trainer went very well and received a lot of positive feedback from my commentator Professor Martin Senftleben from University of Amsterdam as well as the audience. Succeeding in the assignment and having the opportunity to take part in the Workshop was fulfilling to me both personally and professionally. I learned much about the intellectual property rights intensive industries and, on top of that, I had a great time.

All in all, taking part in the WIPO Workshop was a wonderful opportunity and learning experience.