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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Kat visits #INTA15: Tuesday tribulations

Life can be fun at the annual International Trademark Association (INTA) Meeting, but it can also be tough.  Monday night's formalities closed with the end of the Meet the Bloggers reception at shortly after 23.10 pm.  Thereafter, a brisk walk took this Kat back to his Bayside hotel, where he checked emails and did some blogging till he turned in at 0240 am.  All this late night effort did not however stop him bouncing up bright and early so that he could arrive in time for his 0800 am meeting.

Why have a conference
when you can have a Forum?
What was this Kat up to? He was participating in a planning meeting for a conference that INTA will be holding at the end of the year, its midwinter European event.  This year's foray into the Old Continent is a trip to Rome for two days of very serious discussion and debate on trade marks and geographical indications. The dates are 4 and 5 December, so mark your diaries. Like any responsible brand owner, INTA inflicts takes particular pains to instil high standards of quality control into its conference preparation process; the two hours spent poring over already patiently-sketched-out plans in search of improvements, and evaluating a multitude of options and opportunities, reflected this. Co-chairs of this event are Keri Johnston (Johnston Law, Canada) and Lorenzo Litta (De Simone & Partners, Italy). Some readers may remember Lorenzo as a blogger of note on the Italian Catch Us If You Can IP blog, which has sadly been in abeyance for nearly four years [it's a sad world when people have to give up blogging to do their day jobs, adds Merpel].

Following the planning meeting, this Kat retraced his steps -- a very large number of them in fact since the meeting was in one of the Convention Center's most inaccessible nooks and crannies -- to the hospitality area where he again met friends and colleagues, discussed the legal issues of the day, commissioned some more articles and case notes for JIPLP plus a couple of guest posts for this blog, and learned from one of his fellow IP bloggers rather more than he wanted about some personal difficulty and substantial discomfort occasionally experienced by romantic foxes.

After the chopped liver was finished, the
baba ganoush had little chance of survival ...
The final scheduled activity of the day was a short walk from the Convention Center to the Marriott Marquis and Marina. Contrary to the indication contained in its name, this was neither a marquis nor a marina but a large hotel, the venue for the Sanford T. Colb reception.  This event is not an official part of the INTA programme but has been running since before the INTA became the INTA back in 1993 (when it was was still the USTA) and it attracts a larger attendance than most items on the official programme on account of the persistently high calibre of the host firm's chopped liver, the most popular of the many delectable goodies annually on offer.  Once there, this Kat secured for himself a comfy seat at his own table near the door, from where he was able to spot friends, readers and colleagues on their arrival and check on the current state of their practical, theoretical and professional well-being. A keen advocate of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding, this Kat had his first experience of crowd-devouring when, from his vantage point, he enjoyed an undisturbed view of the feeding frenzy which saw the guests devour practically everything in the room but the carpet, the paper serviettes and the hosts.

Any colour you want, so long as it's grey
The day ended with a surprise: the sudden arrival in town of Bernie Dimont, with whom this Kat seized the opportunity to speak.  His name may mean little to IP lawyers today, but Bernie has his own little niche in the history of trade marks.  Back in the early 1990s Bernie practised as a lawyer in San Diego, taking a particular interest in grey goods (the US term for the parallel importation of goods that did not infringe IP rights in the country in which they were originally made into a market other than that for which they were originally intended).  For a while Bernie also wrote and published The Strategist, a slender, well-written and thoughtful magazine providing commentary on legal and practical issues involving IP and the grey goods market. Sadly for us, Bernie subsequently turned his talents and not inconsiderable energies to other areas but, for this blogger at least, The Strategist will always be fondly remembered.

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