Remarks by Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison at the 2016 Trademark Expo

Thank you, Richard, and good morning everyone – including those of you watching remotely from home or work. I want to welcome everyone to the 2016 National Trademark Expo.  We are excited that the expo has returned to the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium for the first time since the early 1990’s.

This is my first Expo as Commissioner for Trademarks and I chose to move the expo from the USPTO campus in Alexandria, VA to Washington, DC to make it more accessible for a wider range of attendees. An important part of the mission at the USPTO is education and outreach and this venue certainly aligns with the agency’s ongoing education outreach efforts. What better location to connect with and educate citizens on the important role of trademarks in the national and global economy than here a few feet from the National Mall and so close to Capitol Hill.

Speaking of Capitol Hill, I recently attended a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Lanham Act on Capitol Hill.  Also in attendance were Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee, Senators Coon and Grassley, and Representative DelBene. As Director Lee noted in her remarks, “The advantages enshrined in federal trademark law because of the Lanham Act are critical to competing and thriving in today’s global economy.”

A recent USPTO Department of Commerce report, that builds upon a 2012 report, found that 81 industries are Intellectual Property-intensive. Among those, Trademark-intensive industries once again were the largest in number and contributed the most employment—more than 23 million jobs in 2014.  Trademarks are often considered the most valuable asset of a company. How do you know the product or service is of high quality? By the Trademark! Some of the world’s most famous brands are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

This year we are welcoming 26 Exhibitors to the Expo, including nine first time exhibitors.  Some are very large and some you may not yet know.  Let me start with asking the nine first time exhibitors to come on up.

First, let me start with a very fun group which is very fitting with our theme of “Energy and Movement” the DC Rollergirls.  They will be performing at noon and 3 PM today and 11 AM and 2 PM on Saturday,--aren’t they fabulous?

There will be amazing demonstrations right here on the dance floor at the scheduled times listed on the calendar.  Musical Pairing, teaching us how to harmonize music to our meals and based on a patent pending math formula.  How cool is that?

Department of Homeland Security, keeping us safe.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), aka the metro, they are responsible for most of us getting to work

Oh Mercy! Hot Sauce, Yowzer!  They are changing the way we all think about hot sauce

Coca-Cola Company, one of the most valuable brands in the world, a great producer of beverages around the world with a bottle shape that just celebrated its 100th year!

General Electric another venerable American brand selling everything from appliances to aircraft engines to medical imaging and financing, with its roots going back to Thomas Edison.

Paradise Springs, a great Virginia winery now with a California winery location making it the first bi-coastal winery,  

InSoFast, a cutting edge building materials company.

In addition to the new companies, we have many other exhibitors here with us today who have returned:

David Introcaso who provides podcasts on health care policy.

The Idaho Potato Commission! Potatoes anyone? Welcome back!  Idaho Potatoes are delicious!

Hershey, YUM! Do I need to say more?

1000 Cranes LLC, a multimedia company that provides business consulting and related educational services including children’s books and origami paper

United Parcel Service UPS! Thanks for coming again. Brown can certainly do something for you! Check out the truck! I know they visit my house at least once a week.

Berg USA is a company that sells outdoor play products including trampolines. Take a ride on their pedal kart! Fun!

Numbers Alive! features math education and has some puzzles you can enjoy. So important to encourage math among our youth.  At the USPTO, we are strong advocates of STEM education. Thank you for being here!

Velcro Companies is here. How did we ever live without their fastener products?  Really. 

National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is here to teach us how to protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss.  Really important, particularly in view of the use of headphones by everyone today.

International Trademarks Association’s (INTA) Unreal Campaign is here to educate us about the dangers of counterfeiting.  Really a key effort to protect you from buying the wrong thing.

American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) is with us today to educate both young and old on the value and benefits of all types of intellectual property.  We appreciate your support.

There are also several government agencies here including the Department of the Navy, a proud protector of our country. The United States Air Force (another one of our proud protectors.  FYI, I just hired one of your former fighter pilots- great asset), Indian Arts and Craft Board, part of the Department of Interior promoting economic development by expanding the Indian arts and crafts market. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American business’s ally at home and abroad.

Speaking of at home we have our very own City of Falls Church, known as The Little City. Welcome! Outside you will find the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, UPS, WAMTA.

So we have assembled a great variety of trademark owners for you here.  Big and small, government, for profit or not for profit.  You can see the importance of trademarks in every line of work. You may think that I have forgotten Under Armour! Don’t worry I am saving them for last. 

Before introducing our special guest, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to members of the 2016 Trademark Expo Committee who worked so hard to make this happen: Andrew Lawrence, Shana Webster-Trotman, Keri Cantone, Aisha Johnson, Anne Gustafson, and Thomas Manor for organizing this special event. I would also like to thank our MC, Richard Lehman and singer, Pamela Rinehart, Kelly Williams from Under Armour and all of our wonderful exhibitors.  Thank you.

And now, I have the honor of introducing our keynote speaker, Kevin Haley from Under Armour.

As you know, Under Armour is a great local success story.  They were started just 20 years ago.  I understand the business was actually started in Kevin Plank’s grandmother’s basement right here in Washington, DC. Now we see the brand everywhere, not just in the US, but I mean all around the world. Under Armour in many ways embodies the American dream, combining ingenuity and work ethic with a little luck and a lot of fortitude to build a successful business.  Sounds simple, but we know it is anything but.

Today we are honored to have Kevin Haley here to represent this great American success story and share with us how they’ve built and protected their brand over the past two decades. 

Kevin currently serves as President of Category Management and Innovation at Under Armour, Inc.  In this role, Kevin is responsible for driving the Company’s innovation engine and developing its category management structure. Kevin joined Under Armour in 2005 as the brand’s first General Counsel.  After helping to take the company public and build its legal department, Kevin was appointed to leadership positions in Sports Marketing and Consumer Insights before taking the helm of the Innovation practice. With Kevin’s impressive and varied background – from law to branding to innovation -- he is the perfect choice to kick off this event for the USPTO.

Kevin graduated from Princeton University with honors and was twice voted track and field team captain. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia. In addition to spending time with his wife and six children, Mr. Haley also enjoys fishing, water-skiing, and training. Wow! Ladies and Gentleman, we are honored to have Kevin Haley with us. Please join me in welcoming him.