Readers may have wondered why, following two posts on Monday on the International Trademark Association (INTA) Meeting in Dallas (here and here), there have been no further INTA Katposts till now. Had the Kat been hibernating or, worse than that, merely socialising? The reality is not as exciting, nor as scandalous, as the various hypotheses on offer. A serious attempt was made to attend several of the substantive sessions, either to learn from the speakers or, in a couple of cases, out of curiosity to find out if they knew what they were talking about -- but to no avail. On each occasion when this Kat strode out towards the relevant conference room, he kept encountering a succession of familiar faces who hailed him, caught him by the proverbial buttonhole, and detained him for long enough for his late entry to be something of an embarrassment. Thus thwarted, this Kat resolved to spend his time talking to registrants and, more importantly, listening to what they had to say about trade marks, how they regarded this year's venue and programme, what they thought they could take away with them from a meeting of this magnitude [apart from business cards and stress balls, says Merpel], and why they had decided to attend the Meeting in the first place. The following bullet-points represent a combination of what they said and what this Kat had been intuiting.
|You wouldn't notice if Dallas looked like this|
if you were spending all day in a windowless
room in the Conference Center ...
|Will trade mark attorneys take steps|
to keep the patent folk at bay?
The programme: it is plain that the table-top sessions, which are intimate and highly focused, are very popular with many people who conduct them and those who sign up for them. They seem to generate more enthusiasm at the personal level than many of the formal conference sessions. As to the programme itself, this Kat remains concerned that there are too many sessions in which all of the participants are from the United States -- something that is liable to reduce the breadth of coverage of the topics for those sessions and also create the false impression that the organisation is officially US-centric. The problem is neither specifically INTA's fault nor necessarily within INTA's powers to rectify it: many new issues are recognised and litigated in the US before they are appreciated and analysed elsewhere, and even where expertise is generated elsewhere it can be hard to identify unless individuals are encouraged to put themselves forward. Topics which received the all-American treatment this year were
- the Cloud (which certainly does not hover exclusively over the 50 States of the Union),
- professional leadership ethics,
- social media problems for beginners,
- trade mark administration,
- the financing of litigation,
- trade marks in the food industry and
- pro bono advocacy.
This list is far too long and the IPKat will be happy to assist INTA in finding non-US speakers and panellists to complement their US colleagues if INTA calls upon them to do so.
Take-away benefits: the Kat found no clear consensus here. There seemed to be as many aspirations as there were people attending. Cementing client-attorney relations, personal development, sniffing out possible job or career moves, social and personal motives -- all of these and more appeared to motivate attendance.
The INTA administration: this Kat, who recalls what things were like in the 1980s, is greatly impressed at how much more professional, proactive, flexible and generally caring the INTA and its staff have become. Whether this is the result of picking the right people, training them or just plain good luck, this Kat has no idea. However, their commitment, hard work and apparent sincerity has itself added, to a considerable degree, to the INTA Meetings becoming a pleasurable and conducive environment for learning, arguing, networking and sharing one's thoughts with one's trade mark peers.