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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
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MARQUES conference, "sustainable brands", opens

This year's MARQUES conference, "Sustainable Brands: a Luxury or a Necessity?", is being held in Brighton's splendid faded-glory icon, the (Hilton) Metropole Hotel, where some 515 participants have gathered together to share their experiences of bracing sea-breezes, Twitter, trade mark enforcement and the merits of window-frames held together with transparent adhesive tape.

This year's event was opened by MARQUES president Guido Baumgartner (Coty Prestige Lancaster Group), whose warm and well-phrased introduction soon gave way to Andrew Layton (Director of Trade Marks and Designs, IPO), who described the constant and ongoing commitment of the UK's efforts not merely to provide a set of administrative services but to address the specific needs of their users with regard to advice on registrations, company names and other issues, to reduce the risk faced by users of IPO services in difficult trading conditions and to increase user awareness of the issues they must face.

Shane Smyth (FR Kelly) then explained the conference theme, with some amusing asides as to how various confectionery brands have succeeded on the basis that their products contained either (i) a hole or (ii) air. He observed that it was not just the environment that had to be sustained, but brands themselves. "Beware of greenwashing", he cautioned, asking whether "green" -- particularly in the context of cosmetic and perfumery packaging -- was a luxury or an essential part of the product.

Siân Croxon (DLA Piper) then introduced the local mayor, Ann Norman, who arrived in chains. She spoke about Brighton and Hove's sustainable business strategy and climate change -- no doubt giving MARQUES participants confirmation that their jobs not as much fun as sorting out local bus services and 'personal door-to-door active public transport'. Next up was David Green ("Green by name, Green by nature"), an internet expert with experience at Deloitte. David gave the audience a tour of the concepts that currently drive consumer interest and consciousness that brand owners ignore at their peril. He also reminded us of the threats of genericity to brands that can't sustain their distinctive character, and of brand abuse on the internet.

The final speaker before coffee was business ethics and strategy expert Nel Hofstra (Ereasmus University, Rotterdam). Her theme, "Creating more value with less impact", touched on the environmental impact of brand marketing itself. The ability of a business to explain its brand's own sustainable characteristics is an important part of the way the brand communicates with the public and the failure of economic models to bring non-economic (human) factors into brand development is a major criticism of our values as well as a cause of our wasteful use of resources, she explained. More attention must be given to the concept of nature: it's not an isolated phenomenon part the host of the holistic system within which we all interact. Homo economicus is a dangerous concept, which presupposes the hegemony of economic man over nature.

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 11.32
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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