Brand Management and the Rise of Cancel Culture: The Trademark Attorney’s Guide to Anticipating, Avoiding, and Mitigating Calls to #CancelABrand

A live 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, January 22, 2021

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide trademark counsel on adapting brand management strategies to account for today’s “cancel culture,” where negativity towards a brand can escalate quickly and unexpectedly. The panel will examine the concept of cancel culture and the role of brand management before, during, and after a cancellation campaign, including how scrutiny of trademark-related decisions such as adoption, filing, and enforcement can lead to calls for cancellation, how third-party agreements should evolve in the age of cancel culture, and whether trademark enforcement methods should be used to respond to social media criticism.


While social media created an unprecedented ability for brands and celebrities to positively interface with their customers, it simultaneously created a highly-visible environment for brand owners and celebrities to be held accountable for their actions. On social media, complaints and criticism are interspersed with praise and promotion, and it is often “likes” that decide which ranks higher. The inability to completely “control the message” creates uncertainty regarding a brand owner’s long-term public image and challenges brand owners in a new way.

Cancel culture refers to the centralized amplification of traditional complaints, criticism, and boycotts using the visibility and virality of social media. In some cases, the volume of negative content surrounding an individual or company can inundate the positive content and quickly and unexpectedly cause disruption and discomfort to celebrities and brand owners.

Although many companies have withstood calls for cancellation, and sometimes even thrived in the aftermath, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for responding to calls for cancellation. While trademark attorneys play an important role in evaluating the proper reaction, inaction, or other action after a viral call for cancellation has occurred, trademark attorneys also play an important role in preventing calls for cancellation that can arise through trademark adoption, filing, and enforcement work and mitigating the risk of calls for cancellation through careful clearance as well as negotiation of agreements with third parties.

Listen as our authoritative panel of trademark attorneys examine strategies to develop effective brand management strategies to prevent calls for cancellation, prepare for calls for cancellation, and repair brand equity after calls for cancellation.



  1. The benefits and risks of social media for brands
  2. Examples of “cancellation campaign” scenarios
  3. Planning for the inevitability of negative social media attention and adapting your brand management strategy accordingly
    1. Trademark clearance
    2. Trademark enforcement
    3. Trademark licensing
  4. Evaluating negative social media attention and the use of trademark enforcement tools to respond
  5. The trademark lawyer’s “seat at the table”


The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • What is cancel culture and why does it matter to trademark attorneys?
  • What is the role of the trademark attorney before, during, and after a cancellation campaign?
  • How should trademark clearance strategy account for cancel culture?
  • How should trademark enforcement strategy account for cancel culture?
  • How should trademark licensing strategy account for cancel culture?


Feldman, Joel
Joel Feldman

Greenberg Traurig

Mr. Feldman, Vice Chair of the firm’s Trademark & Brand Management Group, counsels companies, organizations,...  |  Read More

Kim, Anna
Anna Kim
Counsel, Brands and Content Intellectual Property

Ms. Kim serves as the lead intellectual property attorney supporting the development of brands and production of...  |  Read More

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