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SPLiCE Hosting ‘License To Play Globally’ Conference on April 26

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

The Society of Product Licensors Committed to Excellence (SPLiCE) is celebrating its 17th anniversary on Monday—which is also World IP Day—by hosting a conference on ways to protect, promote and enhance brand integrity through licensing.

SPLiCE currently consists of 70-plus member companies which together account for more than 20% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 6% of the S&P 500 Index, and 22% of License Global’s 2020 Top 150 Global Licensors. The membership reads like a Who’s Who of corporate America, including companies like The Walt Disney Company in entertainment; Ford, GM and Harley Davidson in the automotive sector; beverage firms like Coca Cola, Anheuser Busch and Jack Daniels; tech companies ranging from AT&T, Electrolux, Dupont, Boeing and Westinghouse; toy companies like Mattel and Hasbro; and food companies like Kellogs, Hershey, Keurig Dr. Pepper, and Ocean Spray.

SPLiCE also works with governmental and non-profit organizations like the US Post Office; the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines; various universities; and The Boy Scouts of America. 

As part of its mandate to improve the practice of licensing globally, SPLiCE also stages several events throughout the year, such as the SPLiCE International Conference, the Licensor’s Summit, and next week’s World IP Day-License to Play Globally event.

CEO Kimberly Kocienki says there are two primary areas of focus in the event. The first is on ways the industry can better protect, promote and enhance brand integrity through licensing, while the second is on the increasingly important topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or DE&I.

“In 2020, SPLiCE conducted a benchmark study focused on Diversity in the licensing model,” said Kocienki. “In 2021, we will shift our focus on inclusion with its positive impacts for licensing.

“As SPLiCE celebrates its 17th anniversary and the World IP Day on April 26, SPLiCE will host an academic round table of education to support brand protection, enhancement and promotion with DE&I playing a major component in the program,” she added. “We are absolutely delighted to build upon the solid foundation of work established by our Organizational Structure Benchmark Team and demonstrated by our membership who embraced the study.”

​The event will kick off with Andy Paladino, Sr. Manager of Global Licensing at The Hershey Licensing Company, who will reveal how Hershey entered into a successful partnership with Changi Airport in Singapore. Inspired by the iconic Hershey’s Chocolate World store found in New York’s Times Square, Changi Airport and The Hershey Company brought “the bright lights and big city excitement of Broadway and Times Square to Singapore residents.” The display at Changi, modeled after the Amazing Candy Machine in the New York store, features eight flavors of chocolates, with 3 ‘new-to-Changi’ flavors.

After that things get more serious as the conference dives into the legalities and challenges of brand protection on a global basis.

Dr. Julian M. Potter, a European patent attorney, will speak on the conflict of laws in the field, while Christopher Karpenko, the Executive Director of Brand Marketing with the US Postal Service, will lead a discussion on global licensing IP misuse, and revealing a case study on actions taken by the USPS to protect its brand.

There will also be a ‘Legal Breakout ThinkIn Session’ open to all attendees, with global experts brought in to discuss the ways in which companies can protect their brands and IP from misuse. The group will focus on the USPS case study and Unregistered Community Designs in the UK and EU.

Kocienki says the conference will also include a topic that has become top of mind throughout the industry over the past few years—the drive to increase and improve diversity, equity and inclusivity (known as DE&I) in the licensing and branding industry. The conference will hold a breakout session for attendees, with global experts brought in to discuss ways the industry can embrace DE&I in the licensing model.

“Our discussions of DE&I programs begin with the impact upon piloted licensing programs,” Kocienki says. “We look at ways goals for licensing programs can include DE&I core objectives. This leads to specifics around utilizing what are inclusive designs and how to employ the designs within inclusive products, why DE&I is important, and how it drives affinity.”

Finally, Leigh Ann Schwarzkopf, co-founder of the Project Partners Network will be batting cleanup as she discusses the topic, “What Matters to Consumers Today?”

The conference is open to all SPLiCE members. For more information, contact Kimberly Kocienki by email at kimberly@SPLiCEonline.com. Anyone wishing to acquire a SPLiCE membership can contact the Society by email at members@SPLiCEonline.com.


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