"One of the major challenges we face is to protect our brands against counterfeiting. For that purpose, we mobilise the most up-to-date resources worldwide, drawing on an international network of experts overseen by our legal department."
Ian FitzSimons, General Counsel
Within the Group, intellectual property protection is organised into six units with 30 dedicated team members. Each unit manages several brand portfolios on a global scale. And each team includes a lawyer in charge of analysing and filing elements that could be copied. As Ian FitzSimons, the Group Legal Director, explains, “strong brands need a strong team to protect them.”
The growing number of innovations developed by the Group requires stronger legal protection. 3D registrations have been filed for the new, highly distinctive bottle designs. For example, when we launched the new Absolut Elyx packaging (a square bottle with copper markings inspired by 1020s geometric design) and for the new 2-cl to 2-litre Ricard bottles (modern silhouette with rectangular base and the name embossed on the side). The face, height and profile of these bottles are now also protected against counterfeiting attempts.
Innovative legal protection
Internally, the Group continues to invest in new authentication technologies such as Seal Vector, an encoded square that cannot be detected by a photocopier. The QR code now appearing on bottles is linked to a Web page allowing us to authenticate the product. In China, Martell Cordon Bleu, Noblige and Chivas 12 Year Old bottles are now equipped with this marker.
The Group works closely with local public authorities regarding any legal actions. The International Federation of Spirits Producers also provides resources and support. This approach is consistent with the work of Pernod Ricard’s Public Affairs Department in advocating a legal system that can effectively protect intellectual property in developing countries.