Where Do Brand Protection People Come From?

Where Do Brand Protection People Come From?

Nicola “Nikki” Consterdine

IP Protection Manager
Epson European Limited

“It feels like yesterday that I was sitting in a London recruitment agency, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I started to read a newspaper and spotted a job advert for an Intellectual Property Coordinator. At the time I didn’t know what Intellectual Property meant, but I knew that the job was local, a second language preferable, and it required some international travel. I bought myself a book on IP from a London bookstore and turned up at the interview.

Going up against a former law enforcement official and a lawyer, I didn’t think I had any chance of being hired. Now, 20 years on, I feel blessed that an amazing gentleman from North Carolina (managing the investigations for Reebok) saw something in me and took a chance. That gentleman sadly passed away recently, but I am forever grateful that while I lacked any formal training and was armed only with an Economics degree, he taught me the basics of brand protection and set me up for the career I have today.

 I have learned some value lessons along the way: you mustn’t be afraid to ask questions; learn from your mistakes; no two days are the same; there is always more to learn; and the importance of building relationships with other brand owners as well as law enforcement officials. I must also give credit to some amazing colleagues along the way as well as some of the other brand protection managers within the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) who taught me some valuable tricks of the trade and how to roll up my sleeves and just get on with it.”

Richard Rytman

Former Head of Corporate Security for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Currently serving as an Industry Expert Consultant

“A security and legal background led me to the field of brand protection. My diverse professional background of more than 20 years includes serving as an assistant district attorney, FBI Special Agent, security consultant, general counsel, and corporate security executive.  I am most proud of my successes in guiding corporate clients in the development of industry-leading best security practices and maximizing security department operational efficiencies. My interest with brand protection developed because of the return on investment and potential value I knew a successful program could bring to a corporation.

My experience has taught me that a holistic approach to brand protection is the key to success, regardless of your background. A successful brand protection professional understands all aspects of the business lifecycle of a product, establishes good relationships with the brand owners, and can effectively measure and communicate the value of brand protection efforts.”

Kevin Weaver

A-CAPP Center Industry Advisory Board Member
Director, Brand Protection Technology & Innovation
Johnson & Johnson

“Six years ago I made the most impactful decision in my professional career: I joined the Global Brand Protection team at Johnson & Johnson (J&J).  My current responsibilities as the Director of Brand Protection Technology & Innovation for J&J allow me to develop brand protection solutions across the different focus areas of product protection, market monitoring, and data and analytics. It is an incredible responsibility to protect our doctors, nurses, patients, consumers, and mothers, fathers, and babies from the risks associated with illicit trade (e.g. counterfeits, diverted, tampered products). After a long and satisfying career of over 25 years in Information Technology, this new area of responsibility has been both rewarding and challenging. My diverse IT experience prepared me well for this journey, but I am constantly challenged to think differently.  Over the years, I have taken several professional development courses to supplement my experience in IT. Courses like IP management, investigative/enforcement techniques, and supply chain management have played a critical role in my success as a Brand Protection Professional.”

Ashli Weiss

Senior Counsel, Brand Protection & Trademarks
Western Digital Corporation

“I became aware of brand protection in law school.  As a law student, I received an Intellectual Property Concentration and my favorite courses focused on trademark law.  In my trademark courses, I learned about the value of a company’s trademarks and how others can impinge on this IP asset. I found it fascinating how lawyers use trademark law to protect brands. To get a more in-depth trademark learning experience, I published articles on trademarks, was my trademark professor’s research assistant, and worked on brand protection issues at Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy.  My education and work experiences impacted my career trajectory.  Immediately following school, I landed an IP fellowship with Tory Burch LLC, which led me to my current role as IP counsel with WDC.  In addition to my legal knowledge and employment history, my passion for brand protection, business acumen, and interpersonal communication skills played an important part in my IP career.”

For more on where brand protection professionals come from see Temperature Test.