|Photo commissioned from unknown Convention Center staff member by Okan Çan (Deriş)|
|A British triumph?|
|Photo: C. Morcom QC|
While awaiting the Grand Finale, this Kat pondered over the things he'd been doing and seeing over the past four days. What changes might he make if he was in charge of the INTA? The following were among the many ideas that dawned on him:
- Both MARQUES and the Fordham IP Conference have made great efforts to unite practitioners and academics with specialist members of the judiciary, or at least with non-specialist judges who have presided over more than their fair share of IP trials. MARQUES does this through events which it takes to countries around Europe, while Fordham has a judges' panel as one of its plenary sessions. These events are much appreciated -- the MARQUES ones because they provide a forum in which judges and practitioners can get a better understanding of each others' concerns and discuss ways of smoothing the path from writ to judgment; Fordham's through the amicable bullying of an expert moderator who knows how far he can push judges to reveal their inner thoughts and concerns. INTA does have some judges on the programme, but in a rather diffuse manner: it would however be grand if the organisation could bring several together in the same room at the same time, to discuss their different approaches to identical issues;
- Merpel rather mischievously suggests that there should be a session entitled on working with trade mark paralegals. Contrary to the opinion of a few members of the profession who seem to be commoditising not only their work but their staff, paralegals are human too; they help generate profit; they can easily be taken for granted, and they too have their aspirations, their fears and their need to feel loved and fulfilled;
- After his experiences this year, this Kat would propose a Table Topic for next year entitled "Retirement Planning for IP Professionals". Most of the golden oldies to whom he spoke had no intention of retiring because what they do is such fun, some confessing that there isn't really anything else they fancy doing. Fair enough, but one of them mentioned an intention to continue to carry on in practice until he was 95. Brave words, but would he be happy, for example, to submit to the scalpel of a 95-year-old surgeon or the drill of a near-centurion dentist? In theory there should be no problem, but professional life is demanding and the exercise of professional skills can be quite hard enough even for a young, strapping practitioner at the end of a long, hard day in the office;
- More seriously, there really should be breakout sessions for patent attorneys who come to INTA to meet clients but who have no active interest in trade mark law and practice. Each year there are more of them, and special sessions would not only keep them gainfully occupied but would make it easier for them to find one another. Or maybe they could be given ribbon tags on their registration badges with a legend like "Patent Eligible" ...