‘Battle of the Brands’ as US Franchises Look to Enter

In 2010, that “Baskin-Robbins” was nowhere to be found. Rumors circulated that it went under for financial reasons, while others pointed at a more likely culprit: corruption. But the truth was that Shirin Salamat, an attorney who advises on brand protection strategy, licensing and trademark enforcement, represented the real Baskin-Robbins while working at a law firm in Tehran and single-handedly closed all five Iranian shops for their client.

“There is a huge misconception about the power of brands in protecting themselves in Iran,” says Salamat, who now works at Salamat & Associates. “The Patent and Trademark Office of Iran is part of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Madrid Protocol, and there is a specific court that handles these infringement cases. They are fairly knowledgeable about international brands, international best practices and regulations.”

Salamat also represented Starbucks in its case against Raees Coffee. She said, “[Starbucks] decided not to move forward as they did not see themselves entering the market anytime soon. Many of the brands didn’t want to spend additional funds prosecuting, since their brand was getting exposure in a country where they could not do business themselves.”

She added, “However, considering the recent events, they are now looking at the possibility of entering the market and will proceed with full force.”

KFC has a similar problem. Countless versions of the Kentucky chicken franchise have popped up all over the country, such as Kabooky Fried Chicken and Super Star Fried Chicken.

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