Beautiful Alicante, Spain
This year I have the privilege of serving as INTA President and representing our Association at events, conferences and on delegations around the world. It has been a whirlwind journey so far. I cannot believe it's July already: half of my Presidential Year is already behind me…
With things moving so fast, I appreciate times like this when I can take a quiet moment to reflect. Two weeks ago Etienne and I joined government leaders and colleagues from the global trademark community at the European Communities Trade Mark Association’s (ECTA's) 2014 Annual Meeting in Alicante, Spain. Together we reflected upon, and celebrated, the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Community Trade Mark (CTM) Regulation—a central theme of the meeting.
Indeed, much has changed over the last 20 years. Since 1994 the EU has grown from 12 to 28 Member States. We’ve also witnessed the rapid growth of the Internet, which has had a huge impact on the way business is done—from the manner in which we file for and maintain our trademarks to the way we interact with consumers. The Internet offers so many opportunities but also presents so many enforcement issues that were not foreseeable 20 years ago.
Needless to say, the CTM is a prime example of effective trademark law harmonization—a key objective for INTA—and a huge benefit to IP professionals in Europe and abroad. This occasion provided us all with a special opportunity to reflect not only on the CTM but also on the value of trademarks in general, and the benefits they bring to consumers and, as observed in the 2013 EPO / OHIM study on IPR-intensive industries, workers as well.
This anniversary was particularly special to me. Twentyyears ago I graduated from law school! It was in my first job out of law school at Kilpatrick Stockton that I began doing international portfolio work, and two years later when I joined The Walt Disney Company I really began to engage directly with CTMs. It was a true privilege to celebrate this anniversary in Alicante—the home of the CTM—surrounded by friends and colleagues.
Here’s to 20 more years of effective trademark harmonization in the EU and around the world!