Here's the third and final report of the IPKat on this year's International Trademark Association (INTA) Meeting, held this year in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Massachusetts (click here and here for the two earlier reports).
Thursday, 27 May 2010
The main event of the IPKat's day was the Africa Crammer session, in which round-ups from South Africa (highly topical, in view of this summer's ambush marketing competition which was fortuitously scheduled to clash with FIFA's World Cup), the increasingly interesting East African zone of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, as well as the under-utilised regional trade mark grant organisations ARIPO (under the Banjul Protocol) and OAPI (under the Bangui Accord).
Right: Africa, according to Adams & Adams. The ARIPO bits are in orange. The OAPI bits surround Ghana, the larger orange bit on the left.
Moderating the session, the Kat was pleased to count twice as many 'attendees' this year as there were in 2009, perhaps even three times as many if all the people who came in for part of the session were there at the same time. There were some lively moments too, particularly when the interesting question was raised as to whether clients existed for the benefit of trade mark practitioners -- and whether both existed for the benefit of trade mark offices. We all look forward to more of the same next year.
After the Africa session the Kat bolted back to the Exhibit Hall to chat to some of the exhibitors (publishers, search companies, renewal agencies, institutions, inter alia) about their impressions of the event. All were agreed that, despite the frustrating durability of the recession, people's attitudes were more buoyant this year than last. Business was picking up in many sectors, though it was felt that some of this year's IP firms would not survive to attend INTA's 133rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Several people reported -- and the IPKat can corroborate this -- that they had been approached for employment opportunities by Meeting participants who were out of work, in the process of leaving their positions or who had been reduced from regular employment to casual work for their previous firms or companies as independent consultants. No-one was looking to recruit, however. This is depressing news not just for those who have come apart from their jobs but also for aspiring new entrants into the IP professions. INTA can't be expected to create jobs out of nothing, of course, but its events are certainly being used as a recruitment catalyst this year.
After the close of the formal events, nothing was left but the INTA Final Night Event, held at the instructive and enjoyable Museum of Science. To the IPKat's disappointment, he was unable to converse effectively with his fellow diners over the pervasive beat of the intrusive and over-loud music. Determined to do something about this, the Kat is running a poll (you can find it at the top of the weblog's side bar) since he is confident that he speaks for the silenced majority on this matter.
Now for a long-deferred sleep and the long trek back.