I am one of the lucky ones. From my first days as a lawyer 30 years ago, I was lucky enough to work with great brands like Sesame Street and the Muppets, Orville Redenbacher, Monopoly, Kraft Foods and Paul Masson. I since have worked with great brands like Apple, Microsoft, NBC, McDonald’s, Star Trek, Citibank, SONY, Quaker, Pepsi, Gatorade, American Greetings, Strawberry Shortcake, Colgate-Palmolive, Philip Morris brands, Budweiser, Jack Daniels Properties, Aunt Jemima, the Rolling Stones, Revlon, Estee Lauder, the SC Johnson brands, Paramount Pictures, and currently with some of the foregoing as well as such great brands (and the great people associated with those brands) including American Idol and America’s Got Talent (and all of the other FremantleMedia brands), the Gallo Winery and its many brands, and wonderful licensing talent including George Foreman, Hulk Hogan and Chuck Norris, courtesy of my extraordinary law partner Henry Holmes (the “Holmes” in our “Holmes Weinberg” law firm name – and Henry also has mentored my becoming an entertainment lawyer).
The work is and always has been exciting, challenging and fulfilling. It has included trademark, copyright and domain name strategies, acquisition, sale and enforcement, worldwide licensing strategies and deals, and sponsorships, endorsements, advertising and promotion in every media in most modern countries. I’ve worked with established brands, transitioning brands and brand new brands. And throughout this time I have been lucky enough to be married to Dana, who was a creative director at a major advertising agency and worked with a number of major brands. Great synergy there – she taught me branding from the advertising and promotion side and I taught her all about trademarks. This was especially fun when by happy coincidence we shared the same clients and were working on the same brands.
With my software technology and marketing background, I also was lucky enough to be one of the first Internet/domain name lawyers in the world, and, with thanks to my then pre-teen daughter and her friends (and a few far sighted clients), early to social media. I became professionally enamored with the digital world, and with my background as a mediator, executive coach, speaker, litigator and negotiator, I needed to know more about digital communication as it affects brands and consumers, and so I co-founded what has become a leading integrated marketing creative studio in New York City, Know Use Corporation (knowuse.com) which works with new and established brands in developing and executing on state of the art creative P&A strategies, including social media strategies.
I’ve shared this history with you because, hopefully, it provides some insight into my fascination with brands and their relationship with people. And why I have decided to start this blog. Those of you who know me know my love for talking about this subject – I was so flattered that the International Trademark Association decided to get out of its comfort zone and allowed me to develop and chair its first business and legal conference on Branding and Social Media in October 2013 and I’ll be moderating a panel about it at this year’s Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in June – will understand why I want to talk about it publicly more than once a year.
So getting back to the title of this section, this blog The Brand Lawyer is about my observations and thoughts on both the business and law surrounding brands and the communication between brands and their consumers. It’s meant to be read by anyone interested in this important subject matter. Others with my passion will have opportunities to post their thoughts and ideas here as well. And since this is a startup, there are endless possibilities for what it will become.
Thanks for joining me.