IGF 2019 WS #285 Digital Inclusion, Social Entrepreneurship and Brands

Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Monique Gieskes, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Peralta Santiago, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Yulia Morenets, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

1. How do we ensure that small businesses and social entrepreneurs, including those in emerging economies and founded by minorities or marginalized groups, have the right skills, motivation, and trust to confidently offer services online?
2. How do we ensure that brand protection and enforcement is equally available to all?
3. What tools can be developed and/or better promoted to help emerging businesses to protect and enforce their brands on equal footing with larger organizations?
4. Do trademark, domain and brand protection enable or hinder economic growth in the digital landscape?
5. Do trademark, domain and brand protection truly protect consumers?

Relevance to Theme: Fostering digital inclusion for all emerging businesses, no matter what size the company, where it based, or who owns it, contributes to a stronger economy and enhances economic development through shared wealth, shared employment, and equal opportunity for all. The issue of the role of intellectual property rights within the internet governance structure is a source of ongoing debate. Some view trademarks and domain protections as growth inhibitors while others view them as the building blocks for sustainable business. This mock counseling session will raise the role of trademark protection and domain names in protecting emerging businesses. Entrepreneurs will discuss their emerging businesses in Latin America and North Africa and the challenges and benefits of using digital resources to help sustain local businesses. In addition to the entrepreneurs, a leading youth educator and advocate will discuss the impact of ICT's and branding on the opportunities for young entrepreneurs. This round table builds on the 2016 IGF Lightening Session, "Trademarks Enable Sustainable Growth." http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/index.php?q=filedepot_download/4...

Relevance to Internet Governance: This workshop proposal relates to Internet Governance by explaining existing systems of rights protection for online commerce, a conversation on whether those rights contribute to the effective development of small businesses on the Internet, and exploring what can be done to make those systems more inclusive, fair, and cost efficient. Historically, rights protection is rooted in consumer protection and ensuring quality and safety in the online marketplace.

Format: 

Other - 60 Min
Format description: This session is envisioned as "live action" client counseling session employing real world facts for emerging businesses and social entrepreneurs in developing countries. It can be done "auditorium" style or using U shape configuration where the "clients and counselors" are at the head of the U and participants on the sides.

Description: As never before in history, entrepreneurs and small business that need to break out of local economic circumstances have the opportunity to create a business or other endeavor, to empower it, promote it and make it sustainable with the help and support that ICT brings to them. But, of course, to grow and be successful over time, a business needs more than Internet access: it needs Internet presence. A key element of a unique online presence is offered by combining a website based on a ''good'' domain name matching a trademark that offers information about source, ownership and quality of goods and services. Combining domain names and trademarks provides the means for broad outreach to the global economy. A recent impact study conducted by the International Trademark Association (INTA) demonstrates that trademark intensive economies grow faster, promote employment and offer a path to sustainability. See attached .Trademarks also improve labor markets, with evidence of wage improvement in another study conducted by INTA. In contrast, counterfeit goods tend to lead to job loss and foregone GDP growth, according to a third study conducted by INTA. The issues around intellectual property rights are controversial in the internet governance space. Some see IP rights as an inhibitor of growth particularly when companies charge for access to vital goods or services in developing countries. Sometimes, the price is difficult to for many to afford in those locations. A distinction must be drawn between intellectual property enforcement actions that could be seen as a barrier and those that advance innovation, encourage small business vitality, and build nascent industries. This is important especially in e-commerce, where protection is arguably more difficult and infringement is harder to track or trace. [http://www.inta.org/Communications/Documents/Latin_America_Impact_Study_...

Trademarks, in particular, help protect a business from unfair competition and related violations and also have the potential to become an important asset of the business with a real and sometimes substantial value. These assets become the basis for sustainability by enabling the business to license its products or services and to expand into complementing streams of commerce. This benefits the proprietor, the consumer and the community-at-large. A successful business and brand can reflect positively on the country of origin and its economy and employment prospects. Trademarks are what connects the business to its customers and to its country. Famous Brands immediately identify a country. If we look at marks like Sony, Ford, Lego, and Heineken, most of these businesses started with a small unknown trademark and an individual entrepreneur. Their trademarks have become famous and intertwined with the business, its products and brand presence and a source of national pride in the countries of origin.

Format: The session will be organized and presented as a mock client counseling session. The two “clients” will be represented by leaders of a chocolate company in Ecuador and a textile company in DNC. Drawing on their actual entrepreneurial experience, they will share their concerns and challenges as owners of growing businesses in managing an online presence while building a sustainable business. In response to the scenarios they describe and the questions they ask, two counselors will provide expert advice. One of the counselors is an experienced intellectual property attorney with extensive experience in counseling small and emerging businesses. The other is a cybersecurity specialist. Through an interactive Q&A format, the issues covered will include the importance of having a trustworthy and protected name and brand right from the start of the business in order to create a marketable, protectable, attractive business face for the goods and services offered to their consumers, and at the same time, to cope with copycats and infringers, counterfeiters and cybersquatting, all of which affect both businesses and consumers and impacts their ecosystem. Challenges to be discussed are how to: manage costs, disseminate the knowledge of available protections to entrepreneurs who may not be aware how domain names and trademarks interrelate and seeking qualified, respond to others who may accuse the entrepreneur of infringement and find affordable help in navigating complex internet governance and legal issues especially in domain space.

In addition to the Q&A between clients and counselors, this “mock client counseling session” will invite audience participation regarding other advice, as well as past experience with the advice given and additional questions for counseling. Online participants will be monitored and a queue formed for questions and interventions. The Onsite Moderator (and counselor, Lori Schulman) will coordinate with the Online Moderator to ensure that all questions and comments are routed to the roundtable. Written questions and interventions will be read out loud if the system does not provide clear audio in the room.
Specific issues that will be addressed are:
- How can small businesses, including those in emerging economies and founded by minorities or marginalized groups, have the right skills, motivation, and trust to confidently offer services online?
- How do we ensure that brand protection and enforcement is equally available to all?
- Do trademark, domain and brand protection enable or hinder economic growth in the digital landscape?
- What is the interplay between Trademarks and the Internet in terms of leveraging costs and benefits for businesses, consumers and society as-a-whole in protecting their intangible goods and thus, help grow their businesses while developing their economies?
- What tools can be developed and/or better promoted to help all business people protect and enforce their brands on equal footing?
Proposed Speakers are:
Monique Gieskes, DRC, former Group Director Brand Protection and now Regional Director of Vlisco group, an iconic textile company. Vlisco Designs are inspired by Africa, made with a technique derived from Indonesian Batik and designed in the Netherlands. Vlisco’s heritage and design signature is a multicultural melting pot of beauty and industrial craftsmanship. Apart from her position at Vlisco, Monique is the representative for the UN Global Compact Local Network for the DRC, where Vlisco promotes the SDGs and the 10 principles of the UN within the private sector.
Santiago Peralta, Ecuador, co-founded Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador). He and his wife came up with the innovative idea to manufacture the first-ever premium organic chocolate at its origin, bring it to the world market, and return the benefits to the Ecuadorian people. The PACARI brand business model and its relationship with its stakeholders exemplifies the principles of corporate social responsibility. What started as a family business has since become a top premium chocolate brand, with 160+ awards to date, including being named “World’s Best Chocolate” at the International Chocolate Awards in London for five consecutive years since 2012. Pacari chocolate is in 42 countries today and has won the hearts of clients across the globe — from Emirates Airlines to Oprah Winfrey.
Yuliya Morenets, France, Together against Cybercrime. Yuliya leads non-profit organization TaC-Together against Cybercrime International, which works on the empowerment of users in the field of safe and responsible Internet, child online protection and the Internet Governance issues. Yuliya belongs to a number of international organisations organizations on cybercrime and cybersecurity and author or co-author of a number of regulatory texts in different countries. She regularly advises governments and private sector entities on cybersecurity strategies.
Lori Schulman, USA. International Trademark Association, Senior Director for Internet Policy. Lori is responsible for managing the Association’s various Internet and data protection policy and advocacy initiatives. She is INTA’s representative to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and other Internet-related organizations. Ms. Schulman has served as general counsel for a U.S. based, non-profit educational association and managed the trademark portfolios for several well-known brands. Ms. Schulman is a former advisor to the Public Interest Registry (PIR), the operator of the .org top level domain.

Expected Outcomes: Frameworks for a path forward in growing sustainable businesses, leveraging costs and benefits for businesses, consumers and society as-a-whole in protecting their intangible goods and thus, helping grow their businesses while developing their economies
Identifying ways Internet governance can provide a more balanced playing field for small businesses and business in emerging economies.
Collecting the information of the workshop into a small business owner guide that can be made readily accessible and shared.

Discussion Facilitation: 

In this “mock client counseling session” we intend to invite audience participation regarding other alternatives, as well as past experience with the advice given and additional questions for counseling.

Online Participation: 

Online participants will be monitored and a queue formed for questions and interventions. The Onsite Moderator will coordinate with the Online Moderator to ensure that all questions and comments are routed to the roundtable. Written questions and interventions will be read out loud if the system does not provide clear audio in the room.

SDGs: 

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions