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Margaret (Peggy) Serrano

Speaker? Yes. Consultant? Yes. Trainer? No. Entertainer? No.
Corporate Alliance? Yes. Security Alliance? No.


Speaker; consultant; business advisor; intellectual property attorney focusing on trademark and copyright law; entrepreneur (founder and principal of the PlanBrand law firm); former in-house counsel and cross-functional project team member, S.C. Johnson and Anheuser-Busch.


Peggy knows firsthand how major corporations make -- or lose -- money based on how they manage their intellectual property. An IP attorney for more than 13 years, Peggy has advised and counseled corporate managers and executives, non-profit organizations and individuals, worldwide. She is well-known as an excellent speaker, meeting the needs of large audiences at international professional association meetings as well as smaller audiences at universities and local business organizations. Peggy integrates her professional expertise with practical strategies and common sense in a way that makes her accessible and effective.

Peggy understands the competitive challenges businesses face in tough U.S. and international markets. She speaks from her experience as an entrepreneur, an intellectual property attorney in private practice, and an attorney in U.S.-based corporations with foreign subsidiaries. The complex issues Peggy tackles move her clients closer to their business objectives, whether developing international strategies that target rampant counterfeiting in China or establishing proactive policies to reduce new product time to market in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico.

Peggy holds a J.D. cum laude from St. Louis University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Toronto. She is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and The Missouri Bar. Peggy is also a member of International Trademark Association (INTA), Association for Women in Communications (AWC), Wisconsin Intellectual Property Law Association (WIPLA), American Bar Association (ABA), Association for Women Lawyers (AWL), and Milwaukee Bar Association (MBA).

As a member of the Corporate Alliance, Peggy brings knowledge, understanding, and strategic vision to companies in a wide variety of industries. She served on and counseled cross-functional project teams, working with experts from the marketing, operations, and RD&E divisions of global corporations. Peggy is an outspoken advocate of a collaborative team approach as a vehicle that enables companies to leverage the value of their brands. Her experiences with innovative new product launches and creative positioning of well-established crown jewel brands inform the perspective Peggy brings to her audiences and to her clients.


A pine tree during the Christmas holidays - trademark infringement or fair use? A federal District Court in New York faced that question when an air freshener manufacturer sued a competitor. The defendant won the case in the trial court and in the appellate court. A U.S. Court of Appeals decided that the GLADE PLUG-INS Holiday Pine Potpourri air freshener did not infringe the LITTLE TREE trademark for air fresheners. The court found that defendant's use of pine tree language and imagery described the holiday-season air freshener and constituted fair use, not trademark infringement. Peggy was in-house counsel for the winning defendant, S.C. Johnson.

Presentation Titles And Descriptions


"The Power Of A Brand: How to Create, Develop and Maintain Brand Equity"

Gain an understanding of the role brands play in our daily lives and how the concept of a brand evolved from an ownership symbol to a promise to the consumer. Learn the definition of a brand, what makes a strong one, and how to navigate through brand selection and protection. Peggy can customize her presentation for an industry, a business, or an organization. This keynote hits home for senior managers responsible for generating company profits as well as for companies that want their employees, sales forces, or distributors to become an effective corps of brand police.

"Do You Know What You Own? The Role of Intellectual Property In Business Success"

Every business and organization owns intellectual property (IP). Some managers understand IP, protect it, and strategically create new IP. Others don't have a clue. This keynote gives a bird's eye view of the IP big picture, touching on trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. The audience will learn definitions, public policy behind the types of IP, and real life examples of each. IP stories are in the news every day. The audience will learn why properly managed IP plays a central role as an engine of the economy.


"Are You Sitting On An IP Gold Mine or Time Bomb? An Intellectual Property Overview"

This seminar is an in-depth exploration of intellectual property (IP) concepts, examples, successes, and horror stories. Peggy tailors the seminar to the audience by incorporating relevant examples, both current and historical. If the seminar planners want to empower the audience to create and manage existing IP more strategically, this seminar delivers. Alternatively, if the meeting planners want to impress upon the audience the high cost of IP mismanagement, Peggy can customize the seminar with increased emphasis on the horror stories.

"What Is A Copyright And Why Should I Care?"

Copyright law is a very challenging landscape to travel. If you don't have a road map, forget it. Peggy breaks it down to the basics so the audience can understand the bundle of rights held by a copyright owner. A copyright owner can transfer some or all of those rights to third parties in an almost infinite variety of ways. Problems arise when there are ownership disputes, claims of copyright infringement, or determining what constitutes fair use of a copyrighted work. This seminar can incorporate college, university, business, or organization policies on the copyright ownership of works created by faculty, staff, or employees.

Media Bytes Or Testimonials

Peggy has been quoted in local news articles on trademark, intellectual property, and internet legal issues. She commented on a Marcus Corp. decision to rename one of its BAYMOUNT Inns & Suites hotels a BUDGETEL Hotel to preserve its rights in the BUDGETEL service mark. (See Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article.)

Peggy's ability to explain the legal concepts behind news stories - such as metatags, implied endorsements, or the rules that govern internet domain names - in ordinary terms that people understand makes her a valuable media resource. (See Small Business Times article.)


Keynote: Contact Four Seasons Speakers for details

1/2 day: Contact Four Seasons Speakers for details

Full Day: Contact Four Seasons Speakers for details

Consulting: Contact Four Seasons Speakers for details

Travels From And Travel Requirements

Coach, usually from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, unless traveling on other business. Travel expenses not included in fee.

Who Should Hire Peggy And Why

Peggy's extensive corporate legal experience and keen insight into the real value of intellectual property will help you see trademarks, copyrights, patents, and licensing as the revenue streams they should be. From established companies to start-ups, any business that holds or hopes to hold intellectual property needs to educate itself before it makes a fatal mistake, here or abroad. Peggy explains, in plain language, with humor and relevance, what businesses stand to gain - and lose - from their intellectual property. Choosing to ignore intellectual property rights in one or more of almost 200 jurisdictions worldwide is a risky decision. Be careful out there. Improve your odds by adding Peggy's expertise to your team.

Margaret Serrano

Favorite Quote

"Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back."

- Chinese Proverb