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April 1, 2015 Vol. 70 No. 7 Back to Bulletin Main Page

Presidential Task Force Reports Help Association to Imagine the Future


During the March meeting of INTA’s Board of Directors, the three Presidential Task Forces implemented by 2014 President Mei-lan Stark (Fox Entertainment Group, USA) presented their final reports and recommendations. Each Task Force: (1) Brands and Innovation; (2) Committee Structure and Participation; and (3) Building Bridges, provided concrete suggestions on how to incorporate their findings into the Association’s structure in order to further the goals of INTA’s current and future Strategic Plans.

According to INTA’s 2015 President, J. Scott Evans (Adobe Systems, Inc., USA), "the whole idea for these was to imagine our future. All three Task Forces worked tremendously hard over the past year to shape our Association for the years ahead. Overall, the quality of the reports was excellent and exceeded our highest expectations in terms of depth of analysis and tangible recommendations and strategies. These insights will be very beneficial in guiding the next Strategic Plan and will help us to meet the challenges we face as brand owners."

The Committee Structure and Participation Task Force received a great deal of input from Association members. "It was clear that this Task Force was very welcomed by membership," said Mr. Evans. "There will be some changes to committee structure based on that Task Force’s recommendations, but also changes to the level of transparency regarding how committees are chosen." The report includes a plan for finding designated roles for past leaders "so that we don’t lose that institutional knowledge once they move from leadership positions."

Among other changes to be instituted as a result of the reports, the Brands and Innovation Task Force will transition to a full committee by 2016; the Nominating Committee’s timeline will change so that committee selection becomes "more robust and seamless from term to term"; and the Building Bridges Task Force will facilitate outreach to other organizations, both within and outside of the IP community.

With respect to the Building Bridges report, Ms. Stark said that one key takeaway was that outreach must take place well before cooperation is needed. "Trade associations tend to reach out to other groups when there is a pressing issue, but in reality we need those relationships to be nurtured and developed before that, when we’re not in crisis," she said.

On 3D printing, Ms. Stark said that the Association’s recent conference on the topic reiterated the importance of reaching out beyond the trademark community to tackle complex problems that raise a host of legal issues. "We have to become broader in defining who our allies are. We need to move beyond the IP world," said Ms. Stark.

Asked what a Brands and Innovation Committee would be tasked with specifically, Ms. Stark said that the committee’s main role will be "to reach out to different constituents, and also to conduct scientific studies with think tanks and academics to provide foundational research." All three Task Forces will continue their work through the end of 2015 in order to provide additional input on next steps.

Mr. Evans applauded the Task Forces on their thorough work. "The expertise and diligence of the teams that produced these reports is a great example of what the IP community can achieve when we work together," said Mr. Evans. INTA thanks all of the Task Forces for their effort, particularly Brands and Innovation Co-Chairs, Heather Steinmeyer (Wellpoint, Inc, USA) and Curtis Krechevsky (Cantor Colburn, LLP, USA); Committee Structure and Participation Co-Chairs, Janice Bereskin (Bereskin & Parr, LLP, Canada) and Alicia Lloreda (Lloreda Camacho & Co., Colombia); and Building Bridges Co-Chairs, Marion Heathcote (Davies Collison Cave, Australia) and Nick Wood (Com Laude, UK).

Upcoming issues of the INTA Bulletin will have more detailed information about each of the Task Forces.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2015 International Trademark Association