Ms. Harper has Fortune 500 officer-level experience as both a licensee and licensor. This real world experience combined with years of experience providing licensing expert testimony can make all the difference to your case.
Licensing is a marketing practice in which a trademark owner allows another entity to license their mark in exchange for royalties. As a trademark owner, Ms. Harper has put together programs monitor the licensee’s actions related to the trademark, ensuring that the products provided by the licensee meet appropriate quality standards. If these measures aren't taken, the agreement may become a "naked license." Moreover, the company may have lost the rights to the trademark if the licensee’s products failed to meet quality standards.
Licensing controls are required because consumers rely on trademarks to determine the source of a product. They rely on them in making purchases, since they trust a company that places a certain mark on its products to meet the standards associated with the mark. Failing to monitor the use of a trademark results in the loss of the trademark’s value in the marketplace. It no longer means anything about the products with which it is associated. This is sometimes known as the “abandonment” of a trademark.
Ms. Harper is routinely retained to opine on licensing cases because of her roles at Walmart and VF Corporation where she led the licensing departments. Some of the key questions experienced witness Rhonda Harper uses to determine if the license is "naked" or if there has been an "abandonment" of a trademark include:
- Did the Licensor provide brand standards and did the Licensee adhere to them?
- Did the Licensor require regular communications and reviews?
- Did the Licensee and Licensor have consistent staff and processes in place?
- Did the Licensor regularly review and approve licensed products and services?
Examples of cases that relied on Ms. Harper's licensing and contract breakage expert reports include:
- A cookie company licensed its brand to a consumer package goods company
- A leading global jewelry company licensed its brand to a large jewelry retailer