A recent decision from the Court of Justice of the European Union provided a win for Ferrari that could have significant implications for other luxury brands, including those in the fashion space. On the heels of a loss before the Düsseldorf Regional Court after German toy manufacturer Autec successfully challenged the validity of Ferrari’s Testarossa trademark on the basis of non-use, the CJEU determined that Ferrari has not manufactured new models of its famed Testarossa since the 1990s, but it may still maintain trademark rights in the name. 

One of the most interesting questions the CJEU was tasked with determining after Ferrari appealed the regional’s decision to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, which then sought guidance from the CJEU, was whether the sale of trademark-bearing goods by a brand that it had previously released into the relevant market (i.e., pre-owned products) constitutes “genuine use” of the trademark. On this point, the CJEU’s panel of judges said yes, holding that the resale of goods by a trademark owner can constitute “genuine use,” even if those rights would have otherwise been exhausted as a result of the initial sale. (Much like the first sale doctrine, trademark exhaustion generally prevents a trademark holder from taking action against another for reselling a trademark-bearing item after that item has been put into the market/sold by the trademark owner). 

Use is an issue in the case as European Union trademark law maintains that use of a registered EU trademark must not be interrupted for over 5 years. Yet, that is precisely what Ferrari did when it stopped making new Testarossa models in 1996, Aztec argued.

With the foregoing in mind, of particular significance for Ferrari before the CJEU was the fact that while it may not make new Testarossas anymore, it is in the business if issuing certificates of authenticity – as well as providing parts/services – for used Testarossa models by way of its Ferrari Classiche “restoration and certification department.” Additionally, the automaker offers pre-owned vehicles, including Testarossas, for sale by way of official partnerships with dealers. 

The lower court previously determined that the $20,000 in Testarossa parts that Ferrari sold between 2011 and 2017 (presumably just in the region at issue, i.e., the EU) does not amount to “genuine use” of the Testarossa mark. However, the CJEU disagreed, holding that “despite the relatively low number of product units sold under the trademark concerned, the use [that] has been made of the mark has not been token.” Instead, the court stated that it “constitutes use of that mark in accordance with its essential function,” which is to “guarantee the identity of the origin of the goods or services for which [the mark] is registered.” In this case, the marks are registered for use in connection with “vehicles and their parts.” 

As for the low sales figure, counsel for Ferrari argued that it is due to the fact that there are only roughly 7,000 Testarossa models currently in existence, and few are in regular use. 

The CJEU further asserted that “the resale of a second-hand product bearing a trademark” does not, on its face, translate to “genuine use” of that mark. However, the judges held, in Ferrari’s favor, that if the trademark holder “actually uses the mark, in accordance with its essential function … when reselling second-hand goods, such use is capable of constituting ‘genuine use.’” 

Implications for Luxury Brands

The decision of the CJEU, which is still subject to “verification” by the Düsseldorf Court, “is particularly relevant to the automotive sector” given the rate at which automakers manufacture limited edition models,” according to Stevens & Bolton LLP attorneys Tom Collins and Amelia Talfourd-Cook. At the same time, though, they assert that the “relatively low threshold needed to demonstrate ‘genuine use’” may also be applicable to luxury brands more broadly, should brands offer up second-hand goods and/or services in connection with pre-existing products that they have already sold.  

Given the growing number of brands that are toying with, and in some cases, actually introducing second-hand goods as part of in-house initiatives, the court’s decision is anything but insignificant, especially given the recurring practice among luxury brands of relaunching older models to entice new and/or nostalgic consumers; Gucci’s recent reintroduction of its Jackie 1961 bag and Dior’s re-release of its Saddle bag before that both come to mind, as does the reintroduction of traditional pre-blanding branding elements, such as Valentino’s “V” logo, which has popped up on no shortage of handbags and other accessories as of late, and Saint Laurent’s “Yves Saint Laurent” stylized mark, which has taken something of a backseat since Hedi Slimane’s tenure.

Gaining enduring rights in/protection for word marks for style names, but maybe more importantly, trade dress for bag designs, themselves, even after brands have stopping making/selling new versions of the bags, assuming that brands can show continued “genuine” use will likely be “welcomed by luxury brands in general, whose iconic goods typically remain in circulation long after production stops,” says RPC attorneys Alessandro Cerri, Daniel Richards and Sarah Mountain. This is increasingly true as a result of the rise of the resale market, but more importantly, the slow but possibly-very-steady introduction of in-house resale services by brands. 

Over the past few years, a small handful of brands have brought resale operations in house. Richemont, for instance, the Swiss conglomerate that owns Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, Officine Panerai, and Piaget announced in June 2018 that it had snapped up second-hand watch-selling platform Watchfinder, likely in a move that was aimed, at least in part, at overseeing the resale of its own branded watches. Exactly a year later, American luxury brand Mark Cross announced in June 2019 that it would launch its own secondhand online platform for its coveted leather goods. 

Around the same time, upscale outdoors brand Arc’teryx announced the launch of Rock Solid, which sees it buy back used Arc’teryx products from consumers, refurbish them, and sell them on a special section of its website, with Patagonia following suit this year by rolling out its existing “Worn Wear” venture to its main e-commerce site, and enabling consumers to purchase refurbished alternatives of its wares. 

And still yet, Gucci very well might be ramping up to roll out a pre-owned initiative of its own on the heels of the limited-time partnership with The RealReal that it revealed in October. 

In addition to regaining control over the marketing and distribution of their offerings, as well as the condition – and certified authentic nature – of the products, themselves, which has been the primary draw for brands that have waded into the resale space (in addition to the benefit of nabbing sustainability credentials), by engaging in their own resale operations, or at least authentications services, perhaps, the Ferrari decision may insert a new benefit into the mix. By offering resale and/or refurbishment efforts, brands may be able to extend the life of various – and often, wildly valuable – trademark rights that might otherwise have fallen by the wayside due to inconsistent use in the EU. 

This potential rights re-grab for marks and/or trade dress that has not been used for a five-year period very well may spur some increased activity in the already-burgeoning resale space given the notoriously controlling nature of the market’s most well-known names. 

As luxury brands double-down on the Asian market, including by “following Chinese shoppers back home,” as the Wall Street Journal’s Carol Ryan put it this week, and opening more brick-and-mortar stores in markets like China and Japan this year than in Europe or the U.S., Hermès is not bucking the trend. The Paris-based luxury group revealed on Wednesday that it is looking to build out Shang Xia, its Shanghai-headquartered luxury brand, with the help of a new injection of cash from Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family. 

According to a release from Exor on Wednesday, the holding company will invest “around €80 million [$96.9 million] in Shang Xia via a reserved capital increase that will result in it becoming the company’s majority shareholder.” Exor noted that Hermès – which “has accompanied Shang Xia successfully throughout the initial phase of its development – will remain as an important shareholder alongside Exor and [founder] Jiang Qiong Er.”

The investment is expected to close by the end of 2020, and “will result in a non-recurring profit of around €80 million for Hermès,” per Exor. Both Hermès, which has served as Shang Xia’s largest shareholder to date, and Jiang Qiong Er will stay on as investors.

Speaking about the deal, Jiang Qiong Er – who launched the label in 2010 with the aim of creating a company that celebrates the “contemporary Chinese art of living, through a unique encounter between the Chinese cultural heritage, the finest Chinese craftsmanship, and a 21st century design” – said in a statement: “Within just a decade, Shang Xia has managed to position itself as one of the first Chinese brands on the international luxury stage.” 

The pairing between Hermès and Exor by way of Shang Xia – whose array of upscale home goods, silk scarves, streamlined leather goods, and refined apparel offerings are not a terribly far cry from those of Hermès – is certainly an interesting one. While Exor is not known for its holdings in the fashion industry, it is, nonetheless, well equipped in the luxury space, as a leading shareholder in Ferrari, where Exor chairman and CEO John Elkann holds the chairman role. 

Exor’s sweeping stake in Ferrari – which as of 2015 sees it maintain a total voting power of nearly 50 percent with Piero Ferrari, son of the Italian automaker’s founder Enzo Ferrari – speaks to its might in the luxury market. It sheds light on a number of noteworthy commonalities between Hermès and Ferrari, given that Ferrari is far more a luxury entity in the business of employing luxury manufacturing, marketing, and distribution methods than a traditional automaker.

The models embodied by the two companies maintain no shortage of shared attributes – from the calculated approach to the quantity of output when it comes to certain models to the makeup of their respective (and likely overlapping) customer bases. Specifically, both companies boast pools of dedicated and high-spending enthusiasts, with deep-pocketed consumers seemingly clamoring for the latest Ferrari automobiles in something of the same way as the most loyal Hermès shoppers vie for the latest Birkin and Kelly bags. This is no small matter in a global market of ever-expanding options and endlessly fickle consumers.

As Ferrari asserted in its 2019 annual report, “We support our brand value by promoting a strong connection to our company and our brand among the community of Ferrari enthusiasts. We focus relentlessly on strengthening this connection by rewarding our most loyal clients through a range of initiatives … and most importantly, by providing our most loyal and active clients with preferential access to our newest, most exclusive and highest value cars.” 

As a result, Ferrari asserts, “We enjoy a strong and loyal client base with most of our cars being sold to existing Ferrari owners and approximately 41 percent of our clients being owners of more than one Ferrari, which reinforces the demand for our cars and the image of luxury and exclusivity inherent in our brand.”

While Hermès does not publish breakdowns of sales of its most iconic bags by ownership, the notion that most brand-new-Birkin bag purchasers already have more than one bag at home, and that the most dedicated consumers are given increased access to bags is in line with widespread reporting that preferential treatment is given to existing Hermès clients, or “the big spenders with deep relationships with salespeople who reportedly offer Birkins as soon as they hit the stockroom.” 

At the same time, like Hermès, Exor’s Ferrari ownership also links its very closely to the uppermost echelon of the Chinese market. Sales for Ferrari – which describes itself as “among the world’s leading luxury brands” –  have been booming in China in recent years; while the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) market accounted for the majority of the company’s sales in 2019, followed by the U.S., Ferrari revealed early this year that the China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan region was responsible for the greatest amount of growth. Sales in the region during 2019 grew by 20 percent on a year-over-year basis. (In the first quarter of 2019, sales in mainland China and Taiwan were up by 71 percent, a record for the Maranello, Italy-based automaker).

In its annual report, Ferrari pointed to “demand in these markets, [which] has increased in recent years due to sustained economic growth and growth in personal income and wealth,” as reason to “believe we have potential for further success in new geographies, in particular in China, but also more generally in Asia.” 

Still yet, as Reuters has since noted, “Ferrari shares’ mind-boggling valuation of 45 times forward earnings rests on its cars’ status as a quintessentially Italian bling product, something [former CEO] Louis Camilleri understood well.” Further driving home the ties between the two companies, the publication reports that “during his time as CEO, [Camilleri] launched new models and kept a tight control on deliveries, with the aim of propelling Ferrari’s EBITDA margins from 33 percent towards Hermès International-like 38 percent.”

Aside from the obvious synergies, the Shang Xia investment is ultimately “a good way for Exor to diversify” its holdings, which also currently consist of “leading” stakes in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, PartnerRe, CNH Industrial, Juventus FC, The Economist Group and GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, “while deploying some of its cash,” according to Reuters’ Lisa Jucca. 

“Chinese shoppers have been the motor of the luxury industry’s growth, despite being grounded by the pandemic. Buying into a mainland brand gives Exor a foothold at the heart of the future of fashion,” per Jucca, although with Western brands still pulling the attention and cash of most Chinese luxury buyers, “challenging Western brands’ dominance may take time.” 

*Article updated on December 14 to reflect a notation from Reuters about Ferrari’s margins.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has ruled that Ferrari can retain the rights in its Testarossa trademark, even though production of the iconic sports car was discontinued in the 1990s. In a decision dated October 22, a panel of judges for the CJEU overturned a previous cancellation ruling, finding that the Italian automaker’s continued manufacture of vehicle parts for its Testarossa model fulfils the requirements for trademark use.

The closely-watched case dates back to 2017 when German toy manufacturer Autec challenged Ferrari’s Testarossa trademark in the German courts, arguing that Ferrari no longer fulfilled the obligation for trademark use, given that it had not manufactured the Testarossa car model for more than 20 years. Such inconsistent use is significant, as under European Union trademark law, a trademark registration is vulnerable to cancellation action if the holder of that trademark has not used it for a consecutive period of five or more years, which is precisely what was at play here, Aztec argued.

Autec pointed to two registrations that Ferrari held for the Testarossa brand name in Germany and Switzerland, both of which were revoked by the German court in connection with the toy company’s assertions. (Germany and Switzerland established an agreement in 1892 whereby use in one country counts as use in both countries.)

Faced with a loss, Ferrari appealed against the decision to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, which referred the question of trademark use to the CJEU.

Parts, resale & the obligation of use

Ferrari sold a sports car model under the designation Testarossa between 1984 and 1991, and successive models (512 TR and F512 M) until 1996. In 2014, Ferrari produced a further copy with the Ferrari F12 TR model. In the period relevant to the assessment of trademark use, Ferrari also used the “Testarossa” trademark to designate some parts and accessories for the luxury sports cars that it had previously sold under that name.

In order for a trademark to be consisted to be used consistently, that use does not always have to be extensive, especially when it comes to expensive sports cars that are usually only produced in small numbers. However, according to the German court, it was doubtful whether such information should be taken into account in the case of Testarossa, as the mark was not registered for luxury sports cars specifically, but for cars in general and parts thereof. The judge was of the opinion that, if it is necessary to verify whether the brands have been in genuine use on the mass market for cars and parts thereof, it must immediately be clear that this is not the case.

Likewise, the earlier court did not agree that the retail of second-hand vehicles bearing the Testarossa name constituted a new use of the mark since Ferrari’s trademark rights were exhausted after the products bearing those marks were placed on the market for the first time, and Ferrari cannot prohibit the resale of those products.

The CJEU perspective

In its ruling in October, the CJEU found to the contrary that a trademark registered with respect to a category of goods and replacement parts thereof must be regarded as having been put to “genuine use,” in connection with all the goods in that category and the replacement parts thereof, even if it has been used only in respect of some of those goods. For example, high-priced luxury sports cars, or only in respect to replacement parts or accessories of some of those goods. This applies, unless it is apparent from the relevant facts and evidence that consumers wishing to purchase those goods will perceive them as an independent subcategory of the category of goods for which the mark concerned was registered. 

The court also determined that a trademark is capable of being put to genuine use for the resale of second hand goods, so long as its owner “actually uses that mark, in accordance with its essential function which is to guarantee the identity of the origin of the goods for which it was registered, when reselling second-hand goods,” and that a trademark is put to genuine use where its owner provides certain services connected with the goods previously sold under that mark, on condition that those services are provided under that mark.

The CJEU preliminary ruling thereby overturned the 2017 ruling by the German court, and Ferrari is back in the battle to retain ownership of the Testarossa brand name.

Theo Visser is an IP Consultant at Novagraaf, an international patent and trademark consultancy that advises clients on intellectual property strategy and management.

Against the background of an already-contentious relationship between Ferrari and Philipp Plein, the Italian automaker has prevailed in a case it filed against the German designer and his oft-controversial fashion brand over the use of a Ferrari in Plein’s Spring/Summer 2018 runway show. As Luke Leitch wrote in his June 2017 review of the collection for Vogue, inside the Milan show space “was a bumper car stand and a pimp-ily painted Ferrari on the side as decoration.” Plein’s use of the mirrored-silver Ferrari – with flames painted on the sides and the word “Plein” adorning the hood – during the show and in subsequent advertising would give rise to litigation, with Ferrari arguing that Plein was creating an association between the two companies that does not exist and tarnishing its brand image in the process.

Fast forward to this week, and Ferrari has prevailed in its case. Despite Plein’s arguments that his brand was not merely making use of Ferrari trademarks, and in fact, also included Mercedes, Lamborghini and McLaren cars in the fashion show and subsequent promotion in order to “evoke scenarios of Hollywood films,” the Court of Milan has sided with Ferrari as first reported local publication Il Corriere della Sera, per WWD

According to a decision from a three-judge panel for the Court, Plein’s use of the Ferrari in his show and in subsequent advertising for his brand amounts to “illegitimate use of Ferrari trademarks.” As a result of the court’s findings, Il Corriere della Sera reports that Plein is required “to remove from any site and/or social media platform all images and/or videos showing Ferrari-branded cars relating to this event,” and is formally prohibited from making such use of Ferrari’s trademarks in the future (presumably regardless of whether the cars are his own). More than that, Plein is required to pay € 300,000 ($353,542) plus legal fees to Ferrari. 

The decision comes amid an enduring legal battle between the two, as Ferrari filed a separate trademark-centric suit against Plein for using images and videos of one of his Ferraris along with footwear from his eponymous label. The imagery – which depicted a limited edition pair of Plein’s $800-plus PHANTOM KICK$ sneakers sitting atop of his $350,000-plus green Ferrari 812 Superfast – aim to create a connection between the two brands for the benefit of the Plein brand, according to the cease and desist letter that counsel for the Italian automaker sent to Plein in July 2019 (and that Plein shared with his 2 million personal Instagram followers).

The same argument is at the center of the lawsuit that Ferrari filed against Plein thereafter. By featuring his products alongside Ferrari’s wildly famous trademarks, including the Ferrari name and prancing horse logo, Plein used Ferrari’s legally-protected marks “for promotional purposes of [his] brand and products,” and thereby, “unlawfully appropriating the goodwill attached to them,” counsel for Ferrari argued in the complaint that it filed with the Court of Genova. 

In February, the Italian court sided with Ferrari, affirming – in an appeal – that the images and a corresponding video that Plein posted on Instagram do, in fact, run afoul of European Union and Italian trademark law. The problem for Plein, according to the court, is that such images, which feature his footwear “positioned on the body of a [Ferrari] car … may lead consumers to believe that Ferrari brand is in some way connected to [the Philipp Plein] brand” when no such affiliation exists. 

This potential for consumer confusion is “reinforced,” according to the court, by the fact that the color of Plein’s products, namely, the green sneakers, is “almost the same” as the color of the car, which could prompt people to believe that there is “an association between the two companies and their products.” 

The court was unpersuaded by Plein’s counsel’s earlier argument that the designer/influencer-of-sorts was well within his right to post the imagery featuring his cars, as the photos are not commercial in nature, but instead, a reflection of Plein’s lavish lifestyle. Addressing that assertion, the court recognized that the depiction of one’s personal life on social media will almost inevitably include his/her consumption habits, and therefore, will feature the distinctive signs of consumer goods brands. However, the court held that “the use of third-parties’ trademarks by an influencer” (well-known fashion designers like Plein presumably fall within the court’s definition of “influencers”) is “considered lawful only when such use is authorized by the owner of the distinctive trademark, or when the images are descriptive of life scenes of the influencer or of third persons,” and are not merely being used for “commercial or advertising purposes.” 

In Plein’s case, the court determined that the purpose of the photos and the designer’s use of Ferrari’s valuable trademarks in those photos is commercial. Taken together, the images and the corresponding marketing messaging in the captions alerting consumers of where Plein’s shoes could be purchased “can only be explained as existing for the purpose of advertising” and bolstering the appeal of the Philipp Plein brand and its products by way of an association with Ferrari. 

With that in mind, the court held that Plein’s use of Ferrari’s trademarks is unlawful. As for the corresponding video, which depicted bikini-clad women washing and dancing on the car with the sneakers readily in sight and with a caption that referenced the footwear, the court held that it demonstrated the “incompatibility” of the Ferrari and Plein brands, and that Plein’s use amounts of the Ferrari marks in such a way give rise to dilution of the Ferrari marks by tarnishment. 

As of this summer, that case was still underway, and Plein took the matter to social media urging Ferrari to agree to settle the scuffle, and asserting that he was “exhausted and tired of fighting [with Ferrari] especially in this particular moment [when] it is completely inappropriate to fight over such unimportant issues!!!!”

In a June 5 letter addressed to Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri, which Plein subsequently posted to his Instagram account, a representative for the designer called on the car company to “settle once and forever all the pending legal disputes and waive all claims and appeals in exchange for the commitment of Mr. Plein to donate in the name of Ferrari Group and Plein Group the sum of $200,000.” In connection with the letter, Plein stated that Ferrari had allegedly demanded $2 million from him in connection with the aforementioned trademark suit – a sum that Plein claims that he “negotiated” down to $200,000.  

Ferrari did not comment on Plein’s letter, nor does it appear to have settled the suit.

On the heels of predicting in April that global companies should expect a collective loss in value of some $1 trillion as a result of the impact of COVID-19, Brand Finance has since asserted that up to $35 billion of the loss could be clawed from the world’s top 50 most valuable luxury and premium brands. However, Brand Finance’s annual report – which aims to gauge and rank the brand-specific value of entities within the luxury and premium space – is not all gloom, as the likes of Porshe, Givenchy, Ferrari, and Gucci, among others, have fared well in terms of the value of their intangible assets in the market even if their sales have been significantly stunted amid the global health pandemic.

Breaking its ranking down in a few different ways, Brand Finance – which aims to bridge the gap between a company’s marketing and financial performance – focuses primarily on the most “valuable” brands. The London-based business valuation consultancy defines “brand value” as “the value of the “names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs” that a company uses to identify and distinguish its “goods, services or entities” from those of others, thereby creating “distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, and generating economic benefits” for the company as a result. In other words, as distinct from a purely financial ranking, Brand Finance is looking at the value of a company’s trademark(s) and the “associated marketing intellectual property within the branded business.”

“Most Valuable Brands” 

For the 2019 to 2020 period, Brand Finance put Porsche atop of the list of the “most valuable brands,” with the car company once again retaining the title of the world’s most valuable luxury and premium brand “by a considerable margin, following a 16 percent brand value increase to $33.9 billion.”

The German company’s ability to “cement itself as the epitome of luxury [thanks to] a brand renowned for its superior quality and world-class sports car manufacturing,” and its decision to “rise to the challenge of an increasingly eco-conscious society, and become a pioneer in sustainability through the introduction of its first electric vehicle” have had a hand in ensuring its top spot, per Brand Finance. Beyond that, the report states (unsurprisingly) that for Porsche – which sold “a staggering 86,000 units in China in 2019, alone” – and other similarly-situated brands, “there is no denying” the impact and “the importance of the Chinese market” in ensuring the current value of its brand and future gains in that value.

Kering’s marquee brand Gucci took the number 2 spot on the “most valuable brands” list, followed by Louis Vuitton at number 3, and Cartier (4), Chanel (5), Hermès (6), Ferrari (7), Rolex (8), Dior (9), and interestingly enough, premium brand Coach (10). Louis Vuitton’s number 2 position and Chanel’s number 4 spot are noteworthy given that they are the two highest revenue-generating brands within the luxury fashion arena.

While Givenchy did not make it onto the top ten list Brand Finance noted that the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand was “the fastest-growing brand in this year’s ranking,” with its brand value growing “an impressive” 74 percent to $2.0 billion, simultaneously jumping 11 spots in the ranking from 37th to 26th. Brand Finance pointed to Givenchy’s “strong performance and growth, particularly in its makeup division” as helping to boost its ranking, and its focus on further developing its omni-channel e-commerce platform. (It will be telling whether the brand maintains such momentum under the watch of newly-installed creative director Matthew Williams). Meanwhile, the report states that Louis Vuitton was the fastest growing brand in the top 10, increasing by 21 percent to $16.5 billion, while Chanel recorded a solid 20 percent increase in brand value for a total of $13.7 billion. 

Not all companies are on the up-and-up. According to the report, Valentino’s brand value dropped between 2019 and 2020 by 39.1 percent. At the same time, the respective value of Bentley, Maserati and Aston Martin also dropped by double digits, while Dolce & Gabbana and Salvatore Ferragamo were respectively down by 20.8 and 13.2 percent.

“Strongest Brands”

In a separate ranking, Brand Finance quantifies the overall “strength” of a brand (and its intellectual property) – which it says is a “crucial driver of brand value alongside revenue forecasts” – by looking at “relevant attributes, such as marketing investment, [consumer] familiarity and loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation, among others.” Ferrari topped this list again this year, with its brand value improving by 9 percent to $9.1 billion. 

Speaking specifically about the Italian automaker, Brand Finance’s Valuation Director Alex Haigh stated that Ferrari’s “outstanding brand strength reflects the fact that it continues to be admired and desired around the world.” It is “no wonder,” he says, “that many consumers, who might never own a Ferrari car, want a bag or a watch emblazoned with the Prancing Horse, but it is also crucial that management remain at the steering wheel of the brand’s future and maintain its exclusive positioning by monitoring the licensing output closely.” 

In the second through tenth positions on the “strongest brands” list are Rolex, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Hermès, Moncler, SK-II, and Bottega Veneta, respectively. 

Companies in COVID

To gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the various brands in the luxury and premium markets, Brand Finance broke the companies at issue down into three sub-sectors, namely, apparel, automobiles and cosmetics & personal care. The consultancy revealed that its analysis has shown that “these sub-sectors are likely to be impacted differently by coronavirus, with apparel brands the most heavily impacted, facing a 20 percent brand value loss; autos moderately impacted, facing a 10 percent brand value loss; and cosmetics brands largely sheltered from the damage of pandemic.”