For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Kats at INTA 4: the Scholarship Symposium

Can any reader think of a
more appropriate title for
this year's INTA Meeting?
So far as this Kat is concerned, if the rest of the INTA Meeting faded away into distant memories of dark and forbidding skies, business cards fluttering in the breeze, humid handshakes now happily dried and canapés long digested, the one bit that would endure is the annual Scholarship Symposium.  When this event started, it was poorly attended and participation was somewhat tentative.  A handful of nervous presenters of papers would stand up in front of an equally small smattering of practitioners who had been induced to give up an afternoon of professional networking in order to ensure that there was at least some audience.  A few muttered comments would be made, usually designed as much to conceal the anxiety of those making them as to enrich the understanding of the young scholars.   At last, a call for refreshments would put both sides out of their respective miseries and it would all be over for another year.

How greatly have things changed in little more than a decade.

While the scholars prepare to speak,
the moderators move in for the kill ...
This year a teeming, standing-room-only audience in a large meeting room piled in to hear four presentations by aspiring young academics which were confidently delivered and, where necessary, robustly defended. "Can Trademark Law Circumvent Copyright's First Sale Doctrine", asked Mary LaFrance (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), probing the ability of first the Tariff Act of 1930 and then the Lanham Act itself to undo the liberating effect of free movement of copyright-protected textbooks in the US Supreme Court decision in Kirtsaeng (noted on this weblog here).  Next up was César J Ramírez-Montes (University of Leeds, England), whose staunchly and articulately defended paper "Sixth Time Lucky: Starbucks and the Lessons from European Law" generated a good deal of heat as well as light, resulting in the paper's two moderators duelling over a number of issues of EU trade mark law.


Cultural relativity: one person's metaphor
is another one's chocolate bar ...
After a brief break and a move to a larger venue, Connie Davis Nichols (Baylor University Law School) captivatingly led us through her work in progress on the criteria for establishing liability for causing a consumer to experience the annoyance (and sometimes even worse) of initial interest confusion. Her paper, "Initial Interest Confusion 'Troika' Abandoned?", showed how nuanced the various judicial applications of this case law doctrine have become since its introduction in the US, leading to a vigorous discussion as to whether it exists in Europe too and as to whether Arnold J's reasoning in Och-Ziff (noted on this weblog here) was a creative and visionary approach to EU trade mark infringement law or a severe case of selective and disingenuous twisting.  Last to speak, and providing a reminder that regular civil law doctrines can have as much an impact on intellectual property enforcement as do the IP statutes, Tomasz Targosz (Jagiellonian University Kraków) offered us some fascinating insights in his paper, "Indirect Trademark Infringement -- is International Consensus Possible?" Something of a non-believer in the credo that you can conveniently achieve consensus through legislation, rather than the other way round, Tomasz delivered an erudite and demanding thesis that attracted some equally carefully thought-out responses from his moderators.

The Scholarship Symposium no longer needs to justify itself. It has come of age. INTA's decision to encourage academics and students to attend the annual Meeting, and to make it less unaffordable for them to do so, is clearly paying off.  The faces of the hard-nosed practitioners (and probably the soft-nosed ones too) and professors showed it all. This is the bit of INTA where theory meets practice, where ideals meet reality -- and these are meetings from which we all gain.

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