AAFA’s Steve Lamar on Protecting Fashion IP in an Evolving Digital World

Future of IP Protection Podcast - Steve Lamar

In this episode, Branddy speaks with Steve Lamar, CEO & President of the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

During the episode, Steve explains his “Three Ts”  of traceability, transparency, and trust revolutionizing supply chains, before exploring the increasing relevance of ESG principles in the context of counterfeiting, the pressing need to combat indifference and public acceptance surrounding counterfeiting, and the importance of legislative updates, notably the groundbreaking INFORM Act.

Get in touch with your host, Branddy Spence.

Topics Discussed

  • How the Three Ts, Traceability, Transparency, and Trust, are crucial for sustainability and compliance in supply chains.
  • ESG awareness in the context of counterfeiting.
  • Overcoming indifference in public opinion towards the harms of counterfeiting.
  • Why legislation needs constant updates as counterfeiters adapt rapidly, and how the INFORM Act is a huge step forward.
  • Collaboration with trade associations, engagement with peers and policymakers, and educating all levels of a company.
  • Why brands engaging with legislators and sharing their stories is crucial for effective IP protection.
  • The importance of IP protection in innovation and growth in a nation's economy
  • Advice for Fashion Brands: How joining associations, collaborating, and remaining adaptable to evolving IP challenges are crucial for fashion brands today.

Guest Quotes

#1.)   I talk about what I refer to as the “3 Ts”. That's traceability, transparency, and trust. I think 10 years from now, when we look back at this part of the time that we're in, we're gonna find that this is the time that supply chains and logistics change. And really the industry overall has become more transparent and traceable than ever before.


#2.) There are the folks that want to buy counterfeits. They think it's okay. It's, “I'm doing it to save money”, “I'm doing it because no one's really getting hurt.” The EU IP office have been doing a bunch of surveys over the last couple of years and they're constantly finding that there's high levels of acceptance of counterfeits. And I think we need to do a better job. We, as the collective. We, the global. We need to do a better job of equating counterfeits with these very, very heinous practices


#3.)  We need to constantly update our IP tactics and strategies, the legislative and the regulatory frameworks. Because of the speed at which the counterfeiters themselves are adapting to new opportunities to traffic their awful merchandise, they're constantly pioneering and finding new ways to get their products into our living rooms. And unless we are running at full speed to meet that challenge, we're going backwards, because they're just so good at pioneering, developing new techniques. And I hate to use the word good when I'm talking about counterfeiters. But they have been very active at learning new ways to get into your pocketbook and into your living rooms.


#4.) We have all these AI-enabled technologies that are creating a vast wealth of content and ways of expressing that content. And where is that coming from? I think one of the things one of the contours that we're gonna be seeing over the next couple of years is how AI and Brand protection interact with each other.



#5.) We're constantly urging our members to engage and tell their story with their members of Congress, with their Senators, with their house members, locally elected officials, all the places where they have some representation members of Congress senators. They wanna know about who their constituents are and how they can help them right. And, if there's a problem, how they can deploy their skill sets to help those constituents, and if you don't engage, the members won't know right? I think that's so often a missed opportunity.


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