From the Vault: Nike's Jim Carter on the Issue of Brand Counterfeiting

In the March/April 2009 issue of Super Lawyers - Corporate Counsel Edition, we profiled Jim Carter, the general counsel of Nike. While his office is in Beaverton, Ore., Carter spent time traveling abroad a few times a year to Europe, Asia, and South and Central America, where counterfeiting can be a major problem. An excerpt:

[I]t's not just about the revenue, he says; it's about protecting the integrity of the brand.

"We obviously invest a lot of money over time to build a brand," he says. "So it's potentially very damaging to a brand to have a product sold with unknown quality, material content and manufacturing conditions."

Nike lawyers and staff communicate directly with law enforcement authorities and customs officials in many countries. "We've developed networks of local lawyers and investigators the world over," he says. "It's imperative to impress upon local authorities that Nike will go the extra mile to help fight counterfeiters by identifying the product to determine its legitimacy or sending a company representative to the location to appear as a witness.

"That cooperation is very important," he continues, "because the first time or two you don't show up, [local authorities] lose their enthusiasm for that sort of prosecution. When you do have a trial, the commitment that Nike shows, even if it's Nike as the plaintiff in a civil prosecution, that's all part of the messaging that matters. So that's how we build a program in every country."

Read the entire piece here.