Integral domain: Attorney helps protect trademark 'branding'

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 By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News
 
Good branding has the potential to have a return on investment in the millions of dollars if not more, notes IP attorney Jennifer Sheehan Anderson—and it all starts with the selection, clearance, and registration of a coined or arbitrary trademark. 
 
“The challenge of protecting intellectual property is to convince clients of the importance of protecting and enforcing their intellectual property because when intellectual property is not protected properly the business and financial consequences can be enormous,” says Anderson, a partner and IP attorney at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, & Cohn LLP in Ann Arbor. “It’s essential to have good counsel to help navigate the complexities of intellectual property protection.”
 
Another challenge is the ability to quickly adapt to the ever changing and expanding areas where protection is warranted. 
 
“For example, 15 to 20 years ago the Internet was in the infancy stages and people quickly grew concerned about uses of IP on the Internet,” she says. “Today the concern has expanded to the use of IP on social media sites and in virtual worlds.”  
 
Anderson explains that domain names have become a fast-growing issue that is going to explode in the next few years with the launch of the new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) in late 2013.  Some of the common gTLDs are .com, .net .org and edu—but the list has been greatly expanded and hundreds of applications for new gTLDs (over 1,900) were filed for companies to operate new gTLDs such as .AUTO, .SPORTS and .LOAN. 
 
“With the release of the new gTLDs, brand owners need to be concerned about the potential increase for cybersquatting and unauthorized use of their trademarks,” she says. “I’ll be able to counsel clients regarding strategy, Trademark Clearing House (TMCH) registrations, domain name registrations and domain name disputes.”
 
With kudos that include Rising Star Michigan Super Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Trademark Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, and an “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine, Anderson’s career is flying high—despite the early dashing of childhood dreams to become a doctor and discover the cure for cancer. 
 
“Those career aspirations quickly faded when I discovered the sight of blood made me woozy and that I didn’t like needles,” she says with a smile.
 
Instead, the Baltimore native earned her undergrad degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, then moved to Ann Arbor in 1995 to work for H-D Michigan, Inc. (Harley-Davidson) as a trademark paralegal—where she enjoyed learning about the laws of other countries and protecting the property of others.  
 
“It’s also a great feeling to be involved from the conception of an idea or mark, through the development stages to the launch of the brand or product,” she says.  
 
The lawyers she worked with inspired her pursue the study of law—and she earned her J.D. attending evening classes full-time at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, while working full-time during the day.  
 
“It was a busy time,” she says. “I enjoyed the intellectual discussions and conversations about the law at UDM.” 
 
She went on to become trademark counsel for Harley-Davidson, a place of great opportunity to grow as an attorney, experiencing all aspects of protecting a brand, including strategies for brand expansion, learning how to manage budgets, registration, enforcement, licensing, domain name protection, as well working on many different types of agreements and projects that involved trademarks in one aspect or another. 
 
“My favorite part was the ‘on the ground’ enforcement where I would go to motorcycle rallies, exhibitions or local shops and seize counterfeit products,” she says.  
 
When it came time for a career change, she was drawn to Honigman by a good friend and mentor, Michael Lisi, also an IP partner at Honigman.  
 
“I truly enjoy working with the highly skilled, intelligent attorneys and staff at Honigman as well as the work I do every day with some of the top brands in the world,” she says. “I interviewed and started at Honigman when I was 8-1/2 months pregnant with my second child, a testament to the firm’s family friendly environment.”
 
Anderson, who serves on the International Trademark Association’s Pro Bono committee and Honigman’s Committee on Women Attorney Initiatives, enjoys the annual Intellectual Property Summer Institute on Mackinac Island that provides practitioners with education and information on the latest developments in IP law as well as hot topics of interest for national and international speakers. 
 
“It’s a great place to meet up with colleagues and learn about the latest developments in IP law,” she says.
 
An avid hockey fan and hockey mom to Parker, 10, and Heath, 8, Anderson—whose husband Robert is also an attorney—enjoys skiing, reading, and bicycling. She has served as co-vice president and president of the Parent Teacher League at St. Paul Lutheran School and will volunteer at her sons’ new school, St. Thomas the Apostle. She volunteers a few times a year at Gleaners Community Food Bank; and is a board member at the Ann Arbor Art Center, a 100-year-old community organization offering classes, exhibits, and events. 
 
“I’m not really artistic but enjoy getting lost in art,” she says.

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