Known as the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, The Hershey Company counts more than 14,800 employees and sells its products in about sixty countries worldwide, recording in 2013 a revenue of more than $7 billion.
Leaders League. What is the role of the Brand Department within the legal department?
Lois Duquette. The Intellectual Property team is a Center of Excellence within the Law Department. Commercial attorneys typically serve as the day-to-day legal contact for the business, while the Center of Excellence attorneys handle the Intellectual Property issues in depth. The IP team plays a critical role in the development and protection of the Company’s brands. We advise on the selection of new marks or the extension of existing marks, we apply to register new marks and we also work with the brands on the licensing of our brands. The Intellectual Property team also plays a key role in protecting the Company’s brands by aggressively policing against infringements threatening the strength of the brands.
Leaders League. What strategies have you implemented in order to help the global growth of your company?
L. D. Innovation and creating exciting new products are key strategies for our global growth, so the IP team plays an important strategic role to ensure we help create, register and protect new brands and product trademarks around the world that will help drive growth. We have developed teams with representatives from the business units in order to plan the trademark filings which will be needed over the course of the next few years. In addition, in order to handle a dramatic increase in filing work, we have selected certain firms to coordinate the work in smaller countries on a regional basis.
Leaders League. How is your anti-counterfeiting policy organized worldwide?
L. D. We take counterfeiting seriously as we want consumers to be assured that any product that bears our name is genuine and meets our high quality and safety standards. We take decisive action and work with law enforcement whenever we find incidents of counterfeiting anywhere in the world. We focus our greatest anti-counterfeiting efforts in China where we experience the highest incidence of counterfeiting.
The Hershey Company won the Gold Award of Best USA IP Department - Trademark of International Legal Alliance Summit & Awards (ILASA) in 2014.