We are excited to announce that, during our Board of Directors meeting in Beijing, China, last month, our Board approved the opening of a Latin America Representative Office. The new office, which will be located in Santiago, Chile, will be INTA’s fifth regional office.
Thirteen years ago, INTA opened its first regional office in Shanghai, China. This was followed by the opening of INTA offices in Brussels in 2006, and Washington, D.C., in 2008. One of four strategic directions in INTA’s 2014–2017 Strategic Plan is International Expansion. Driven by the Strategic Plan, the Association has been able to accelerate its expansion process. This has enabled more meaningful engagement with our growing international membership; more targeted advocacy; development of stronger relations with local trademark offices and other key stakeholders; and more regional educational programming, in more parts of the world. The opening of the Singapore office earlier this year, followed by the Santiago office, which will open in the first semester of 2017, brings INTA closer to fulfilling its objective of international expansion.
Similar to INTA’s other representative offices, the Latin America Representative Office will support local INTA members and their businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean to expand their brands globally. Additionally, the Office will support INTA members in other parts of the world that seek to enter or grow their business operations in these emerging markets. Further, the Office will enable INTA to increase its public policy engagement and influence throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. This will be achieved in close cooperation with national and regional IP offices and associations active in Latin America.
Of course, INTA has, for many years, been working to establish key relationships in Latin America through regular delegations and educational initiatives. Here are some recent examples of INTA’s progress in the region:
- In November 2015, we held our Leadership Meeting in Panama City, Panama. This was INTA’s first major conference in Latin America and its first Leadership Meeting outside the United States. The meeting took place as the Panama Canal expansion project was nearing completion. The meeting provided Association leadership with an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges of combating counterfeiting and to advocate for measures to halt the transshipment and transit of counterfeit goods through the Panama Canal. Over 1,100 member volunteers joined us in Panama to mark this historic occasion.
- In April 2016, INTA sponsored and co-hosted (with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and the White House Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator) the first-ever interactive forum on enforcing IPR in the region. Entitled, “Promoting IPR Enforcement Policy in Latin America: The Role of the Intellectual Property Office, the event featured representatives from 12 IP offices. Participating offices agreed to meet on a yearly basis, and they will join the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI), the International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), and INTA to create an information repository.
- In June 2016, we held an examiners training in Brazil, it was very well received. We are looking forward to organizing additional trainings in Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and potentially other offices in the region, before the end of the year.
- INTA and ASIPI have conducted a study on the impact of trademark-intensive industries, both foreign and nationally-owned, on the economies of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru. The study is intended to provide statistical and anecdotal evidence to be used as a basis for raising awareness of trademarks and their value to a country’s economy, as well as to support policymakers in developing related legislation. We look forward to publishing the study at the end of year.
- Looking ahead, in December, we will send a delegation to Argentina for ASIPI’s XIX Work Sessions and Administrative Council Meeting. We will use the opportunity to discuss and plan future collaboration with ASIPI, as outlined in the Cooperation Agreement between our two organizations.
- Finally, we look forward to hosting our first regional conference in Latin America in 2017. We will share more information about the location and education program for this conference in the new year.
The opening of the Latin America Representative Office marks a new chapter for INTA in Latin America. Through this office, we will increase our focus on advocacy, education and outreach efforts. We are excited about the future and look forward to the official opening of the Office in early 2017.
For more information about the Latin America Representative Office, please read our press release (in English or Spanish) distributed to the media earlier today.