INTA 130th Annual Meeting: Networking, Anti-Counterfeiting, Emerging Markets 19/05/2008 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By Catherine Saez BERLIN – About 8,000 trademark professionals and industry representatives from more than 130 countries have gathered at this week’s International Trademark Association (INTA) meeting from 17 to 21 May. Trademark lawyers mostly come to this annual event to meet their international counterparts and clients but also to hear the latest on policy and legal issues. They also come for business as the event is a major draw for both corporations and attorneys. “This is where I have had the greatest business opportunities,” a trademark attorney from Romania who has attended seven INTA annual meetings told Intellectual Property Watch. Corporate representatives meet with their international agents to discuss the status of their trademark registrations but also come to learn about new trends in trademarks. The INTA meeting also is a place where members of INTA committees convene. The committees are involved in a range of work, including government advocacy, publications and public education, according to INTA. Committee members are volunteers and serve two-year terms. Committee projects include areas such as brand enforcement, internet security, and non-traditional trademarks, which refer to trademark registrations of scents, colours, shapes or textures. Although the INTA does not undertake legal action on behalf of its 5,000 corporate members, it can try to influence legislation through appropriate channels, according to Matthew Schmidt, INTA communications manager. Perhaps not surprisingly, a key topic at the event is enforcement. Trademark infringement is on the rise, according to INTA, enabled by the rapid development of internet. “It opened a distribution channel, a whole new arena for people to perform illegal activities, and created confusion for the consumer,” said Schmidt. Enforcement on the internet would be necessary through a worldwide internet policy, he said, but for the moment “the burden remains on brand owners,” who have to patrol the internet in search of infringers. This subject also was stressed by Rhonda Steele, the 2008 INTA president, who in the opening ceremonies pronounced battling counterfeiting one of the primary goals of the organisation. She said the internet has a deepening impact and making it now necessary to examine ways in which to protect brands. Steele advocated strong trademark laws and encouraged member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization to join the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks which aims to create an international framework for the harmonisation of administrative trademark registration procedures. Also this year, an emphasis was made on educational opportunities with committee meetings, sessions, workshops and discussions on topics. In an INTA meeting newsletter, Steele urged IP owners and professionals to maintain a “constant thirst for knowledge.” Steele, an Australian who is marketing properties manager at Mars, said she wants to stimulate debate and analyse opportunities in emerging markets. She also intends to focus on engaging markets in the IP discussion in culturally sensitive ways and make sure that INTA has a dialogue about what is most appropriate for those parts of the world. She stressed during her speech that she is the first INTA president to hail from the Southern Hemisphere and has a special connection with this part of the world. Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "INTA 130th Annual Meeting: Networking, Anti-Counterfeiting, Emerging Markets" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.