Susanna Monseau, a Fulbright scholar, is studying textile trademarks and prerequisites for circular economy
Textile business, circular economy and legal issues. Susanna Monseau, who will work as a Fulbright scholar at Turku University of Applied Sciences until early 2023, is interested in fashion trademarks, the way in which they are regulated internationally and how all this relates to the creation of a circular economy in textiles.
Text: Martti Komulainen
Susanna Monseau, who works as a Professor of Business at the College of New Jersey in the United States, started as a Fulbright scholar at Turku UAS in August. Her scholarship term will last until January 2023. The Master School of the technology and business sector serves as Monseau’s home base in Turku, and in addition to doing research, she is also doing some guest lecturing at the school.
Fulbright is an expert exchange programme administered in Finland by the Fullbright Finland Foundation and aimed at promoting wider exchange of knowledge and professional expertise between Finland and the United States through educational links.
Can textile trademarks be an obstacle to a circular economy in textiles?
Monseau is particularly interested in textile industry brands, intellectual property rights in general and the way in which these rights are regulated. The topic is cross-disciplinary in nature and combines business and legal issues. Before her academic career, Monseau worked as a lawyer specialising in intellectual property rights.
During her work in Finland and Turku, she will focus on the links between trademark legislation, ecolabels and certifications, and sustainable textile manufacturing based on circular economy.
– I am particularly interested in whether intellectual property rights legislation could constitute an obstacle to sustainable innovations in textile manufacturing, Susanna Monseau explains.
– This should not be the case as intellectual property rights should support creativity.
In practice this could, for example, mean that the trademark protection of textile brands is so strict that it prevents the recycling of textiles.
Principal Lecturer Kaisa Sorsa and the Finix project (Sustainable textile systems: Co-creating resource-wise business for Finland in global textile networks) led by her brought Monseau to Turku. The subproject of the Finix project underway at Turku UAS aims to identify obstacles to a circular economy in textiles, especially from the perspective of management and regulation. A number of other projects on a circular economy in textiles are also in progress at Turku UAS but their focus is more on the recycling of materials and the business chain.
Susanna Monseau has recently completed a book on intellectual property rights in the fashion industry in which she is making comparisons between regulation in the USA and Europe.
Like many other visitors to Finland, Susanna Monseau is interested in Northern nature and she hopes to make a trip to Lapland in early winter to experience the real winter.