The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of trademark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce.
I. Protection of Trademarks
Consistent with its Mission, INTA’s primary strategic direction is to advocate for the vigorous enforcement of strong laws that provide protection for trademarks so that: (1) trademark owners can market their goods and services with confidence and protect consumers from counterfeits and other unauthorized products; and (2) customers and consumers can rely on trademarks to differentiate sources of goods and services in the marketplace.
Harmonization: Strong laws and enforcement procedures are particularly effective if they are harmonized across jurisdictions so that trademark owners are less burdened with variations that can cause uncertainties, confusion and violations of local laws and regulations. Harmonization also provides greater cross-border protections for consumers in an increasingly globalized market place. This objective contemplates supporting treaties and other forms of legislation and regulation that increase harmonization and using model treaty provisions, model laws and model trademark examination guidelines to achieve increased harmonization and convergence of practice.
The Internet: We are in the infancy of the digital world, and the challenges posed by the Internet, including those that arise from the rapid growth of social media and its effect on intellectual property rights, will continue to change. This objective contemplates that INTA will: (1) incorporate in its advocacy responses to these new challenges as they affect trademarks; (2) participate in ICANN’s governance of the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) including addressing the challenges posed by the expansion of the DNS; and (3) work to combat the proliferation of online counterfeiting and other threats posed to the integrity of trademarks and the brands they represent.
Advocacy: The Internet, sophisticated databases and new technological developments add important tools that INTA can use in presenting its views to legislators and other decision makers. At the same time, INTA’s corporate members engage in advocacy on issues important to their company interests. This objective contemplates that INTA, using research and deploying its own databases, will strengthen advocacy relationships with its members to permit effective and coordinated global legislative activity, beginning with members of the United States Congress and the European Parliament.
The effectiveness of the advocacy contemplated by the primary strategic direction will turn, in large part, on INTA’s communications plan, which must have at least three components: (1) an energetic program to explain the benefits that trademarks and related forms of intellectual property bring to consumers, national economies and society at large; (2) a clear exposition of INTA’s public policy positions, directed at both INTA’s members and its various non-member constituencies; and (3) a concentrated, easily understood explanation of the value of INTA, its programs and online resources.
Social Media: While INTA must continue to use traditional communications tools and outlets, many of the critical trademark issues will be debated using the relatively new tools of social media, both as they exist now and as they will develop. This objective contemplates that INTA will increase its use of social media, both through its website and otherwise, to communicate with and educate members, government officials, consumers and other public stakeholders.
III. International Expansion
INTA’s broad global reach is one of its strengths, and INTA supports its international members in many ways. Further international expansion will permit more targeted advocacy; development of stronger relations with local trademark offices and national or regional associations; more educational programming in more areas of the world; and more meaningful participation by a growing international membership. The opening of the Shanghai and Brussels offices has been instrumental in advancing INTA’s mission in China and Europe. This objective contemplates the growth of the office in Brussels, additional staff resources in China based in Beijing, and the establishment of INTA offices to serve other areas of the world such as Japan and Southeast Asia, Latin America and India.
IV. Member Satisfaction
The benefits of INTA membership include the opportunity to shape trademark policy through advocacy and committee work; the education that INTA’s programming provides; superior networking; and the availability of online resources that are easily accessible and well-organized, complete, accurate and up-to-date. Drawing the distinction between INTA’s members—the corporations and firms that pay the dues—and the volunteers from those members who are individually active in INTA, this strategic direction aims: (1) to promote to corporate and firm decision-makers the value of volunteer participation in INTA; and (2) to develop new opportunities for volunteers to contribute to the success of INTA and to further their own careers in the trademark community.