Loyola University Chicago

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Intellectual property takes marketing professor around the world

Intellectual property takes marketing professor around the world

Professor Alexander Krasnikov in Guatemala with (from left) Débora González, general secretary of the registry of Intellectual Property in Guatemala City, and Catalina Atehortúa García, consultant in Intellectual Property for Ruta N.

By Monica Sather | Student reporter

Intellectual property has taken Alexander Krasnikov, PhD, assistant professor of marketing, around the world and into meetings with top government, legal, and business representatives.

His work at the intersection of intellectual property (IP) encompasses copyrights and trademarks, and how brands from emerging markets can evolve, protect, and bring their products into foreign countries.   

Here, Krasnikov discusses his work with IP organizations, his research, and how he brings it into the classroom. 

How did you get involved in intellectual property?

Several years ago, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is a United Nations agency, invited me to seminars they organized in emerging and developing countries to help local businesses and policymakers use IP to create value for their companies and their people.

That led to a seminar for lawyers in Brazil, a conference for policymakers in Colombia, and a conference in Guatemala exploring how Central American countries can grow their economy by creating a brand within their agricultural business. I’ve also been engaged in projects based on trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and interacted with the IP offices in Colombia, Russia, and the European Union.

Besides that, I recently became a member in an industry organization called International Trademark Association (INTA), which unites trademark practitioners and IP legal professionals from across the world. I was asked to join the taskforce in the brands and innovation committee that tries to show the impact of the trademarks on economic development.

What is your area of expertise is within IP?

I help determine in which areas brands should protect themselves and what the optimal trademark portfolio is for the brand. To do this, I look at trademark registrations and the evolution and position of the brands, and do trademark analytics. I also integrate big data from trademarks and registrations in order to get insights on how brands evolve over a period of time.

What interests you about IP?

Branding is at the core of marketing. Products can easily be copied but a brand lasts a very long time. Unfortunately, most of the research on branding focuses on what happens in the developed world and not on the emerging markets.

The integration of IP and trademarks into the study of branding gives us a very interesting perspective, and helps us determine how brands in emerging markets evolve. Even with all the new technology that we have, trademarks are the only complete record that we have of what has happened to a brand over time.

What have you found in your research?

I use trademarks to see how brands from emerging markets diffuse across borders. I have found that companies from emerging markets like Turkey, China, Russia, and Mexico are taking a different path than companies in the developed world.

So when say Proctor and Gamble introduces a product in a developed market, they do it at a massive scale, and do a lot of advertising and product investments. But these emerging markets do it gradually and expand with very little, but the results are very impressive as well.   

The interesting finding is that contract law and the enforcement of property rights is essential for companies in emerging markets to create and bring their brands to foreign countries.

How do you bring your research into the classroom?

Quinlan faculty are engaged with not just local organizations and business, but we are also engaged with large, global policymakers, like the U.N. for example, or with organizations like INTA and WIPO. From the organizations I am in, I have a lot of interesting contacts and fascinating cases that I try to bring to the classroom.

In class, when students discuss their ideas, we talk about different branding strategies to help understand the relation between branding, trademarks, and IP. Say you have this brand, how would you grow it over the next 10 years from the IP perspective? How could you strategically use trademarks? This helps students start to think about trademarking as one of the key themes in brand management.