Maersk’s history may well date back 117 years, but over the past few years, the renowned shipping group is undergoing such a profound digital transformation that, in many ways, it will become a tech company.
“Our digital transformation makes completely new demands on the way we handle IP. All our 80,000 employees may develop intellectual property, which we must be able to harvest, protect and exploit,” explains Simone Frattasi, Head of Global IP with Maersk.
Effective assistance every day
Maersk has centralised the handling of IP, so that any local entity of the conglomerate that comes up with, for instance, a new product name, must go through the global IP department to register a trademark and to assess the risk of potential infringement.
This provides a good foundation for maintaining control of product names, logos and domains worldwide, and this is where Patrade comes in, assisting with the enforcement of rights by ensuring that scam webshops are closed, domains are removed, or social media infringements are prevented, amongst other services.
Such infringements may be committed by fraudsters registering domain names like www.maerskimport.com, pretending to sell Maersk products or sending scam e-mails to random recipients, encouraging them to send a job application to Maersk against payment of a fee, thereby stealing money from innocent people by impersonating Maersk. Finally, infringements may also include large marketplaces selling, without permission, model ships, coffee mugs, or the like, with Maersk’s seven-pointed star on.
“Patrade acts as an extension of our team, efficiently assisting us in protecting our brand online and easing our daily work routines,” says Simone, who receives a monthly report with relevant statistics and a detailed list of actions taken by Patrade.
Personal relations are key
Patrade’s service is the perfect combination of an IT tool that detects and screens infringing content online and legal expertise that facilitates effective enforcement of Maersk’s IP rights.
“Several companies develop monitoring tools and screen the results on behalf of corporates, but it is Patrade’s legal expertise that makes the screening more effective and autonomous, with a much lesser need for receiving inputs from us and other relevant stakeholders. Moreover, Patrade’s prices are highly competitive,” says Simone.
Maersk previously collaborated with purely technical service providers, but, in Simone’s experience, the collaboration with Patrade works much more efficiently. However, nowadays, several consultancy firms have a similar setup as Patrade, with software systems keeping track of infringements and legal specialists providing advisory services.
“At the end of the day, personal relations are key, and in our collaboration with Patrade, we’ve only ever met advisers who are thorough, capable, helpful, patient and open-minded. They ease our work, not least because they understand our business and the challenges we face in the IP field,” he says.