enforce our IP rights. We believe that such measures afford only limited protection and, accordingly, there can be no assurance that the actions taken by us to establish, protect and enforce our trademarks and other proprietary rights will prevent infringement of our IP rights by others, or prevent the loss of licensing revenue or other damages caused therefrom.
For instance, despite our efforts to protect and enforce our IP rights, unauthorized parties may misappropriate or attempt to copy aspects of our IP, which could harm the reputation of our brands, decrease their value and/or cause a decline in our licensees’ sales and thus our revenue. Further, we and our licensees may not be able to detect infringement of our IP rights quickly or at all, and at times we or our licensees may not be successful combating counterfeit, infringing or knockoff products, thereby damaging our competitive position. In addition, we depend upon the laws of the countries where our licensees’ products are sold to protect our IP. IP rights may be unavailable or limited in some countries because standards of register ability vary internationally. Consequently, in certain foreign jurisdictions, we have elected or may elect not to apply for trademark registrations. If we fail to timely file a trademark application in any such country, we may be precluded from obtaining a trademark registration in such country at a later date. Failure to adequately pursue and enforce our trademark rights could damage our brands, enable others to compete with our brands and impair our ability to compete effectively.
In addition, our license agreements provide our licensees with rights to our trademarks and contain provisions requiring our licensees to comply with certain standards to be monitored by us. Our failure to adequately monitor our licensees’ compliance with the license agreements or take appropriate corrective action when necessary may subject our IP assets to cancellation, loss of rights or diminution in value.
Further, the rights to our brands in our International Joint Venture territories are controlled primarily through our joint ventures in these regions. While we believe that our partnerships in these areas will enable us to better protect our trademarks in the countries covered by the ventures, we do not control all of our joint venture companies and thus most decisions relating to the use and enforcement of the marks in these countries will be subject to the approval of our local partners.
We also own the exclusive right to use various domain names containing or relating to our brands. There can be no assurances that we will be able to prevent third parties from acquiring and maintaining domain names that infringe or otherwise decrease the value of our trademarks. Failure to protect our domain names could adversely affect our brands which could cause a decline in our licensees’ sales and the related revenue and in turn decrease the amount of royalty payments (over and above the guaranteed minimums) due to us.
Third-party claims regarding our intellectual property assets could result in our licensees being unable to continue using our trademarks, which could adversely impact our revenue or result in a judgment or monetary damages being levied against us or our licensees.
We may be subject to legal proceedings and claims, including claims of alleged infringement or violation of the patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights of third parties. In the future, we may be required to assert infringement claims against third parties or third parties may assert infringement claims against us and/or our licensees. To the extent that any of our intellectual property assets is deemed to violate the proprietary rights of others in any litigation or proceeding or as a result of any claim, then we and our licensees may be prevented from using it, which could cause a breach or termination of certain license agreements. If our licensees are prevented from using our trademarks, this could adversely impact the revenue of our licensees with respect to those IP assets, and thus the royalty payments over and above the guaranteed minimums could be reduced as a result of the licensees’ inability to continue using our trademarks. Litigation could also result in a judgment or monetary damages being levied against us and our licensees. Further, if we, our International Joint Ventures or our licensees are alleged to have infringed the IP rights of another party, any resulting litigation could be costly and could damage the Company’s reputation. There can be no assurance that we, our International Joint Ventures or our licensees would prevail in any litigation relating to our IP.